Affective state determination in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer

Lauren C. Chartier, Michelle L. Hebart, Gordon S. Howarth, Alexandra L. Whittaker, Suzanne Mashtoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Behavioural indicators of affective state, including burrowing, clinical scores and the Mouse Grimace Score have not yet been validated in mouse models of chronic gastrointestinal disease. Additionally, a comparison of these methods has not been characterised. This study aimed to determine which behavioural assessment was the optimal indicator of disease, evidenced by correlation with clinically-assessed measures, in an azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer. C57BL/6 mice were allocated to four groups (n = 10/group); 1) saline control, 2) saline+buprenorphine, 3) AOM+DSS+water, 4) AOM+DSS+buprenorphine. Mice were gavaged thrice weekly with water or buprenorphine (0.5mg/kg; 80μL) for 9 weeks. Disease activity index (DAI) was measured daily; burrowing and grimace analyses occurred on days -1, 5, 19, 26, 40, 47 and 61. Colonoscopies were performed on days 20, 41 and 62. All animals were euthanized on day 63. Burrowing activity and retrospective grimace analyses were unaffected (P>0.05), whilst DAI was significantly increased (P<0.05) in mice with colitis-associated colorectal cancer compared to normal controls. In addition, DAI was positively correlated with colonoscopically-assessed severity and tumour number (P<0.05). We conclude that traditional measures of DAI or clinical scoring provide the most reliable assessment of wellbeing in mice with colitis-associated colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228413
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2020


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