The American Physiological Society publishes resource book for animal exercise protocols

'Resource Book for the Design of Animal Exercise Protocols' -- intended to assure the welfare of animals in exercise research -- to be used by researchers and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees

BETHESDA, Md (Feb. 8, 2006) - The American Physiological Society (APS) announces the publication of a Resource Book for the Design of Animal Exercise Protocols. This book was developed during a series of meetings in 2003 and 2004 involving experts in the fields of exercise physiology and animal research models. It is intended for researchers, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs), and those involved with research oversight. The authoring committee, which was comprised of exercise physiologists and laboratory animal veterinarians, reviewed reference material and drew upon their own experience to compile suggestions about how to design, review, and implement experimental paradigms involving animals and exercise. The APS Resource Book was peer reviewed by other exercise physiologists and laboratory animal veterinarians. The PDF of the book is available online at

The opening chapter of the Resource Book outlines the scope of the document and addresses the relevance of studying exercise in general as well as the specific question, why study exercise in animals? It explains how suggestions about the use of animals in exercise paradigms contained in the APS Resource Book fit into the context of U.S. animal welfare requirements, including the Animal Welfare Act, the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Animals, and the ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Specifically, the APS Resource Book is intended to promote an informed dialogue that can help researchers and their IACUCs arrive at satisfactory answers to questions about how to assure the welfare of animals in exercise research protocols. To this end, the APS Resource Book includes 399 reference citations.

Topics addressed in the APS Resource Book include general concerns such as selecting appropriate animal models for exercise research, study design considerations, animal stress, working with compromised animals, and the impact of surgery on exercise. A separate chapter covers common exercise protocols using rats and mice because these are currently the species used most frequently in exercise studies. Another chapter considers exercise protocols using large animals such as horses, pigs, and dogs. A third chapter discusses exercise protocols involving species such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, goats, sheep, nonhuman primates, birds, and fish. In addition to an extensive list of citations, the book also includes appendices on hind limb suspension and immobilization of rats and mice and a set of sample animal exercise protocol scenarios for IACUCs and principal investigators.


NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) sponsored the development of the APS Resource Book, and single copies are available free of charge from OLAW while supplies last. Contact [email protected] to request a free copy. Copies may also be purchased for $9.50 each from the APS store (

The American Physiological Society (APS) was founded in 1887 to foster research on life processes in living organisms. It is based in Bethesda, Maryland, and has more than 10,000 members.

The APS publishes about 4,000 articles annually in its 14 peer-reviewed journals, organizes scientific meetings, and sponsors educational programs to advance the field of physiology. In May 2004, APS received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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