Recommendations for measuring and standardizing light for laboratory mammals to improve welfare and reproducibility in animal research

PLOS BIOLOGY(2024)

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Abstract
Light enables vision and exerts widespread effects on physiology and behavior, including regulating circadian rhythms, sleep, hormone synthesis, affective state, and cognitive processes. Appropriate lighting in animal facilities may support welfare and ensure that animals enter experiments in an appropriate physiological and behavioral state. Furthermore, proper consideration of light during experimentation is important both when it is explicitly employed as an independent variable and as a general feature of the environment. This Consensus View discusses metrics to use for the quantification of light appropriate for nonhuman mammals and their application to improve animal welfare and the quality of animal research. It provides methods for measuring these metrics, practical guidance for their implementation in husbandry and experimentation, and quantitative guidance on appropriate light exposure for laboratory mammals. The guidance provided has the potential to improve data quality and contribute to reduction and refinement, helping to ensure more ethical animal use. Lighting conditions for laboratory mammals is currently set according to the sensitivity of human vision. This Consensus View defines alternative 'animal-centric' metrics and provides guidance for their application to standardize experimental conditions, improve animal welfare and the quality of animal research.
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