Disuse atrophy of both muscle and bone can occur rapidly during periods of inactivity. In several rodent models developed for the study of disuse atrophy, immobilization is induced by prolonged cage restraint, hind limb unloading, tenotomy, sciatic nerve block or sciatic denervation. In less tractable species such as wild-caught hibernating rodents, the sciatic denervation model is superior in terms of both animal welfare and applicability to the characteristics of natural cases of disuse atrophy. The authors describe a refined surgical approach to sciatic denervation in golden-mantled ground squirrels (Callospermophilus lateralis), a hibernating species, that improves animal welfare and reduces the incidence of post-operative complications such as autotomy.
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We thank Ms. Jewel Sutton for excellent animal care and assistance. We thank Dr. Peter Starkweather for photography. Our research program is funded by a National Science Foundation grant and a grant from the INBRE Program of the National Center for Research Resources at the US National Institutes of Health.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Sarukhanov, V., Van Andel, R., Treat, M. et al. A refined technique for sciatic denervation in a golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) model of disuse atrophy. Lab Anim 43, 203–206 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/laban.493