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William L. Siler, Ph.d.
08-05-1996, 12:51 AM
Colleagues:

I apologize for the delay in posting these responses to my posting regarding
the assessment of swimming by rats with an imposed spinal cord injury. As it
turns out, the delay was beneficial. The following is my original posting
and the responses. Thank you very much for your time and assistance.

William (Bill) Siler, Ph.D.
Saint Louis University
silerwl@sluvca.slu.edu

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From: SLUVCA::SILERWL "William L. Siler, Ph.D." 9-JUL-1996
To: IN%"biomch-l@nic.surfnet.nl"
CC: SILERWL
Subj: Rat Swimming

Colleagues:

I have become involved in a collaboration with a neuroscientist who is
using a rat model to investigate spinal cord injuries. After pilot work
and reading, I am looking into using using swimming as a task.
Unfortunately, I have had a difficult time finding literature focusing
upon the kinematics of swimming by rats and I have several methodological
concerns. I would greatly appreciate any answers to the following questions:

1) Should the containment system be made of plexiglass or glass? Whatever
material selected has to stand up to the stresses of the cage washer but I
also wonder whether one material will introduce a greater amount of
distortion than the other. Are there other considerations in making this
choice?

2) Can the methodologies used to analyze human swimming be applied
directly or does the more confined nature of a rat in a box relative to a
human in a pool alter the equation? More specifically, how can I best deal
with the distortions I expect due to the confinement system and water?

3) Can rats with paralyzed hindlimbs swim? Obviously, I could take some of
the pilot animals drop them in an aquarium but I hate to stress the animals
in that way if some of you already know the answer. Besides, my past
experiences with stressed rats resulted in blood loss (mine) and a tetanus
shot that hurt worse than the bites.

Thank you for your time and consideration of these questions. I will happily
post any responses.

Sincerely,

William (Bill) Siler, Ph.D.
Saint Louis University
silerwl@sluvca.slu.edu

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From: IN%"smelton@sdmail.jsc.nasa.gov" "Melton, Shannon L." 9-JUL-1996
To: IN%"SILERWL@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU" "William L. Siler, Ph.D." CC:
Subj: RE: Rat Swimming

Bill-

You might try to get into contact with Kerry Walton at NYU. She has done a
lot with rat locomotion and rat swimming. She may be able to answer some of
your questions.


Kerry Walton, PhD
Dept of Physiology & Neuroscience
NYU Medical Center
550 First Ave, NY, NY 10016
Tel: 212-263-5432
Fax: 212-263-5793
waltok01@popmail.med.nyu.edu

Good Luck!
Shannon Melton
Krug Life Sciences
Johnson Space Center
smelton@sdmail.jsc.nasa.gov

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From: IN%"Rsgraham@aol.com" 9-JUL-1996 10:03:29.98
To: IN%"silerwl@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU"
CC:
Subj: Rat swimming

Dear Dr. Siler:

I read your article. I am doing SCI research and my experience would suggest
that your rats who have severe deficit would drown! In fact, rats like cats
hate water and would likely give up and drown. Unless you have some
scientific reason for using swimming as a method of evaluation, I would not
pursue it. You might try suspending the animal in air and see what it does,
but I feel the best evaluation is dry surface motor response.
Sincerely,

Greg McNeice, PhD, P.Eng
Director of Research

email: gmcneice@worldnet.att.net

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From: IN%"BAILELE1@teomail.jhuapl.edu" 10-JUL-1996 09:35:38.18
To: IN%"SILERWL@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU" "William L. Siler, Ph.D."
CC:
Subj: RE: Rat Swimming

William,

Our fabrication facility has experience designing and building a variety of
similar enclosures to the one you plan. The advantages of plexiglass are
light weight, low cost (depending on size), and machinability. For your
application we would suggest polycarbonate vs LEXAN for scratch resistance.
The original optical clarity will be good. However, plastics will go hazy
if cleaned with an abrasive cleanser. Warm water, a soft cloth, and mild
soap should do the trick.

Another suggestion would be to make one face out of glass.

Leslie Bailey, MSME
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Johns Hopkins Road
Laurel, Md. 20723

leslie_bailey@jhuapl.edu

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From: IN%"jcossor@uniwa.uwa.edu.au" "Jodi M Cossor" 12-JUL-1996
To: IN%"SILERWL@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU" "William L. Siler, Ph.D."
CC:
Subj: RE: Rat Swimming

Dear Sir,

I am not familiar with rat studies but I am looking at swimming in my
Masters thesis and have plenty of papers so I will look at them for you.
What I wanted to tell you was that my supervisor, Brian Blanksby was
telling me some stories of things that happened when he was studying rats
swimming so he may have some information that is useful to you but he is
away at the moment so I will pass on the message and hope that he can be of
some help.

Yours Sincerely,

Jodi Cossor

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From: IN%"j.w.tang@sheffield.ac.uk" 31-JUL-1996 10:55:31.29
To: IN%"SILERWL@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU" "William L. Siler, Ph.D."
CC:
Subj: RE: Rat Swimming

Dear Dr. Siler,

You need to look at experimental biology papers, this sort of thing has been
done for almost 50 years for fish and swimming animals. Try J. Gray papers
(a series of 6) in J. Experimental Biology (around 1910-1920). Generally,
it is easier to move the water past the animal rather than let the animal
swim through still water, unless you have a large tank. As you rightly
mention, wall and floor effects are a problem with small swimmers in confined
tanks. Paul Webb (1975) Bull. Can. Fish. Res. Bd. outlines all the
considerations required before carrying out search experiments. It is a
famous text - ask about it in the Zoology department, if there are any fish
biologists there.

Hydrodynamic texts include the very unique Fluid Dynamic Drag (1965) by
Hoerner, S. (published by himself) - really an engineering text dealing
with rigid bodies, but it has some equations and many diagrams which you
might find useful - try the engineering department.

I have also answered some of your questions below:


1) Should the containment system be made of plexiglass or glass? Whatever
material selected has to stand up to the stresses of the cage washer but
I also wonder whether one material will introduce a greater amount of
distortion than the other. Are there other considerations in making this
choice?

- Glass or perspex does not matter it seems. Perspex is lighter and tougher
(i.e. more resistant to crack propagation), but is less hard, and more easily
scratched. We made a huge 10 m diameter doughnut respirometer filled with
water (8 tonnes!) sitting on the bottom of a huge concrete tank out of
perspex without any problems - J. exp. Biol. 1993, Lucas et. al. (December
issue I think), has a diagram of this and some methodology. This work formed
part of my PhD thesis (1993). The wall and floor effects are important if
you want to calculate the forces, but if you just want to see if it swims....


2) Can the methodologies used to analyze human swimming be applied directly
or does the more confined nature of a rat in a box relative to a human
in a pool alter the equation? More specifically, how can I best deal
with the distortions I expect due to the confinement system and water?

- Ok, you need a tank which is large enough such that the walls and floor
are sufficiently distant as to be regarded as 'at infinity', the
hydrodynamics texts say. Also, surface splashing effects are difficult to
calculate. They had to the forces and energy required to move through water
(which is why Olympic swimmers can only take a certain number of strokes
underwater before surfacing). Estimates have been between 5-10 times as
much energy to swim at the surface at a given speed than if completely
submerged underwater. Again the submergence should be such that the surface
can be regarded to be a infinite distance away from the animal. Ideally you
need to have the rat suspended in mid-water in a completely still water tank
with walls several feet away in all directions and this same distance
beneath the surface of the water for the hydrodynamic analysis to be
accurate.

Again many zoologists around the world send papers on animal terrestrial and
aquatic locomotion to the Journal of Experimental Biology - which is the
most prestigous journal in this field. Probably the best way is to look
back at all the issues (contents on the back of the back cover) and scan
the titles. People send in models for fish swimming (like I have used),
lizards running across water, cockroach locomotion, flying bats, flying
insects etc. You should be able to find a rat locomotion paper in there
somewhere fairly recently.


3) Can rats with paralyzed hindlimbs swim? Obviously, I could
take some of the pilot animals drop them in an aquarium but I hate to
stress the animals in that way if some of you already know the answer.
Besides, my past experiences with stressed rats resulted in blood loss
(mine) and a tetanus shot that hurt worse than the bites.

- not sure about this, probably best to try it at see. Try blindfolding the
rats somehow so they cannot see the situation, so reducing their
catecholamine levels. J. Gray (1913 - I think) in his series on swimming
animals in J. Exp. Biol. (mentioned above), found that dogfish could swim
using their spinal reflexes alone after the spinal cord had been severed at
the cervical level. May be rats have a similar survival reflex - but being
land mammals, I doubt it. Still they are nature's survivors. In a recent
Wildlife special (about 3 months ago now. David Attenborough (who btw,
loathes rats), narrated the BBC1 documentary, showing how rats living in
sewers tended to drown if the sewers flooded in a rainstorm. Perhaps they
were not adapted for water.

I am sure someone has already analysed this problem (a biologist with a
mathematical bent), you just need to find the name and reference. As a last
resort, phone Professor R. McNeil Alexander (or write to him) at the
Department of Applied Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, England, UK. He
is the world authority on terrestrial locomotion (though not swimming
mechanics), and should be able to give you directions. He is also a really
nice guy.

Best wishes,

Julian W. Tang MA PhD MB BS.
University of Sheffield.

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From: IN%"JMAJOR@deans.health.utah.edu" "James Major" 2-AUG-1996
To: IN%"SILERWL@SLUVCA.SLU.EDU" "William L. Siler, Ph.D."
CC:
Subj: RE: rat swimming


Dear Dr. Siler,

The name of the woman is Kaempfe (I don't have an umlaut, two dots over the
"a", on my editor so I have had to add an "e" instead). She has published
several studies of rats as animal models for athletes. She had them swimming
with weights on their tails. I vaguely remember that she made comparisons
with treadmill running as well. Here are also some references that could
be of interest:

Kaempfe, E. (1989). Untersuchungen zur Wirkungsdifferenzierung von
Steroidhormonen am Modell der unbelasteten und belasteten Ratte
[Investigations on the differences in effects of steroid hormones on the
model of training stressed and unstressed rats], Dissertation A,
Militaermedizinische Akademie, Bad Saarow, F.R.G., pp. 1-129.

Mueller, A. (1987). Der EinfluB von Oral-Turinabol und einer Belastung auf
das mischfunktionele Monooxygenasesystem der Rattenleber [The influence of
oral turinabol and exercise on the mixed function of the mono-oxygenase
system of the rat liver], Lecture text, Z.I.M.E.T., Jena, F.R.G.

Rademacher, G. (1989). Wirkungsvergleich verschiedener anaboler Steroide
im Tiermodell und auf ausgewaehlte Funktionssysteme von Leistungssportlern
und Nachweis der Praxisrelevanz der theoretischen und experimentellen
Folgerungen [Comparison of effects of various anabolic steroids in animal
models and on selected functional systems of high performance athletes and
demonstration of the practical relevance of the theoretical and experimental
conclusions], Dissertation B, Militaermedizinsiche Akademie, Bad Saarow,
F.R.G., 1-236.

Schaeker, W., Klingberg, F., Landgraf, R. (1981). Wirkungsvergleich von
Neuropeptiden im eletrophysiologischen Laborexperiment an maennlichen Ratten
[Comparison of effects of neuropeptides in electrophysiological laboratory
experiments on male rats]. Lecture text, internal seminar on 11.27.1981 in
Dresden; in Results Seminar on "Zusaetzliche Leistungsreserven, W. Schaeker
(Ed.), Part II "Ueberpruefung weiterer u.M. auf ihre Anwendbarkeit in
Training und Wettkampf, F.K.S., Leipzig, F.R.G., 14-21.

Mueller, A., Hoffmann, K., Kaempfe, E., & Barth, A. (1990). Zur beeinflussung
des mischfunktionalen monooxygenasesystems der Rattenleber durch koerperliche
Belastung und Steroide [On influencing the mixed functions of the mono
oxygenase system of the rat liver with bodily loads and steroids]. In R.
Haecker & H. De Marees (Eds.), Hormonelle Regulation und psychophysische
Belastung im Leistungssport. Koeln, F.R.G.: Deutscher Aerzte-Verlag, 71-76.

I hope that these can be of help.

james