Rat and mouse alcohol inhalation systems include 4 alcohol and 4 air boxes, the cart that carries them, the complete delivery system and an air compressor. Please note that each box can house up to 3 animals, depending on their size. Also, we provide you with a divider that can be used to subdivide each box into 2 smaller compartments. This is particularly useful if, for example, you need to keep some animals separate but do not want to devote an entire box to each of them. A combined system for both rats and mice boxes is also available.
Some important features of the La Jolla Alcohol Research Inc. alcohol inhalation system are as follows:
The ability to measure alcohol concentration in any given chamber without opening the chamber and/or disturbing the animal(s).
The ability to adjust alcohol delivery in order to achieve and maintain any desired BALs for any given time period.
The ability to deliver different alcohol concentrations to, and therefore achieve different BALs in, each chamber. This allows investigators to run several experiments in parallel.
The possibility to house rodents in the chambers with access to food and water. During this time, the animals can be exposed to alcohol either continuously or intermittently for hours, days or even weeks. This is simply achieved by programming the timer to turn the delivery system on and off at the specified time(s).
The possibility to house animals equipped with indwelling cannulae in the periphery and/or the brain (including microdialysis cannulae). This allows investigators to deliver test substances and/or sample biological fluids while the animals are exposed to alcohol without handling or disturbing the animals in any way. The lids of the cages are equipped with holes that can be custom-made to fit any cannulae size, and that are plugged when not in use. Thus delivery of test substances and collecting of biological fluids can be done without opening the chambers, which protects the consistency of the environment.
Once the delivery system has been set at the desired value, there is no need for laboratory personnel to remain with the animals while they are exposed to alcohol.
Each cart holds eight chambers (4 alcohol and 4 air only). It can easily be wheeled from one room to another and does not require a dedicated space. Because each chamber is completely isolated, alcohol vapors do not escape to the surrounding environment.
The size of the rats or mice cages is different in order to accommodate the characteristics of these two species in terms of weight and alcohol metabolism. We recommend that you do not use rat cages for use with mice or vice-versa because this will lead to very heterogeneous BALs. As both types of cages are controlled by the same delivery system, investigators who purchase both rats and mice cages can switch back and forth between these two species. They can also purchase additional cages to fit their research goals.
Charts have been developed in male and female rats and mice of the strains most commonly used in alcohol research (rats: Sprague-Dawley, Wistar and Long-Evans; mice: BALB/c and C57BL/6J). These charts indicate the parameters of the delivery system as a function of the animals’ weights and the desired BALs. This takes the guesswork out of the experiments and while we recommend that BALs be measured in each investigator’s set-up, the charts provide useful guidelines.
LJARI has established numerous collaborations with laboratories across the country whose work focuses on other drugs of addiction, toxins, pollutants and other inhalants. We have begun preliminary experiments and hope to introduce inhalation systems for many of these substances soon.