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Mouse running activity is lowered by Brucella abortus treatment: a potential model to study chronic fatigue

  [ 51 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Ottenweller JE, Natelson BH, Gause WC, Carroll KK, Beldowicz D, Zhou XD, LaManca JJ • • March 23, 1998

Chronic fatigue syndrome, which can occur after acute
infection and last for years, is characterized by severe and
persistent fatigue. Others have reported decreases in mouse
running activity following infection and have suggested this
may provide an animal model for studying chronic fatigue.
Voluntary running is a highly motivated activity in mice,
which will often run 5-7 mi/day in our laboratory. Following 2
weeks of acclimation to running wheels with food and water
available ad lib, female BALB/c mice received 0.2-mL tail vein
injections of killed Brucella abortus (BA) or saline vehicle.
Subsequently the effects on voluntary running and grooming
behavior were determined. Injection of BA caused an immediate
large decrease in running and a lack of grooming. Vehicle
injections produced no changes in behavior. After the first
several days of reduced running behavior, levels of running
and grooming slowly returned back to normal over the next 2-4
weeks, with substantial individual differences in the rate of
recovery. The pattern of running during recovery was
intriguing in that BA mice first ran at normal levels just
after the lights went out, but they stopped after only 1-2 h.
As recovery proceeded, they gradually increased the duration
of the running bout during the night. Because this model uses
voluntary exertion and the ability to run for longer periods
of time characterizes recovery, the model may be a good one
for studying the biologic underpinnings of chronic fatigue.

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