3Rs principle: The principles of Russell and Burch that call, where possible, for the replacement of laboratory animals with tissue culture or mathematical model alternatives, the refinement of laboratory procedures to minimize pain or stress to the research animals, and the reduction of the number of animals used in experimental procedures.
Acute toxicity: The short-term effects of a one-time exposure to a chemical substance.
AIDS: A disease of the immune system characterized by increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections, as pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and candidiasis, to certain cancers, as Kaposi's sarcoma, and to neurological disorders: caused by a retrovirus and transmitted chiefly through blood or blood products that enter the body's bloodstream, especially by sexual contact or contaminated hypodermic needles.
Allergy: Hypersensitivity to certain substances, such as pollens, foods, or microorganisms.
Alzheimer's disease: A progressive form of presenile dementia that is similar to senile dementia except that it usually starts in the 40s or 50s; first symptoms are impaired memory which is followed by impaired thought and speech and finally complete helplessness.
Alternative: A method that either eliminates the need for a whole animal (replacement alternative), substantially decreases the number of whole animals used for a particular procedure (reduction alternative), or improves the design and/or efficiency of a test, thereby lessening the distress or discomfort experienced by laboratory animals (refinement alternative).
Animal models: In biomedical research, an animal whose structural or functional similarity to humans or other animals makes it useful in the study of human or animal diseases.
Animal use protocol: A detailed written description of the procedures involving the use of animals in a research project.
Antibodies: Proteins that are produced by lymphocytes in response to exposure to specific foreign chemicals, or antigens. Bacteria, viruses, plant pollen and toxins (like tetanus) are all types of antigens which can produce an antibody response. In simple terms, antigen X stimulates the production of anti-X antibody; antigen Y stimulates the production of anti-Y antibody, and so on. Anti-X antibody reacts with antigen X but not with antigen Y. The antibodies produced by the injection of most antigens results in the production of multiple antibodies (called polyclonal antibodies) to that antigen. This is because antigens contain multiple, unique areas on their surface which stimulate the production of different antibodies.
Anticoagulants: Drugs that inhibit action of blood clotting factors. A substance, such as EDTA, sodium citrate, or heparin, that is added to blood samples to prevent clotting, thus allowing the blood to be separated into its liquid and solid components.
Anxiety: Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.
Barrier: A system of housing research animals that keeps outside contaminants from entering the cages, animal rooms, or the entire facility and likewise prevents contaminants generated inside the system from leaving.
Bone marrow transplantation: A technique used to enhance or restore a person's immune response or supply of blood cells or to replace diseased or destroyed bone marrow with normally functioning bone marrow. The technique involves the removal of bone marrow from a donor and transplantation of it to a patient.
Catheterization: A small diameter flexible rubber or plastic tube used to cannulate a body cavity, duct, or vessel. Caudal: A descriptive anatomical term meaning toward the rear part of the body or tail.
Cholesterol: A white soapy substance found in the tissues of the body and in certain foods, such as animal fats, oils, and egg yolks. Cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis. (It collects on the walls of arteries and interferes with the flow of blood.) High levels of cholesterol in the blood are considered to be unhealthy.
Clinical trials: Testing of new medicines or products on human volunteers after they've been tested on animals but before they are offered to the public. These tests allow scientists to be absolutely sure their product has no harmful effects.
Computer modeling: Tests done on a computer to try to predict the effects a medicine or product will have on a living person or animal. These studies may provide some answers, but cannot tell the researchers how an ingredient will react within living tissue.
Control group: A group not subjected to the experimental treatment, so as to have a standard against which the outcome in the experimental group can be compared.
Conventional: A method of housing research animals in which no special precautions are taken to prevent the introduction of disease into the colony.
Dependent variable: The event studied and expected to change when the independent variable is changed
Down syndrome: A genetic disorder, associated with the presence of an extra chromosome 21, characterized by mild to severe mental retardation, weak muscle tone, a low nasal bridge, and epicanthic folds at the eyelids.
Ether: A colorless volatile highly inflammable liquid formerly used as an inhalation anesthetic
Ethology: The scientific study of animal behavior.
Euthanasia: Intentional induction of painless death. To euthanize an animal means to induce death in a way that does not cause unnecessary pain, discomfort, or fear. The American Veterinary Medical Association publishes euthanasia methods considered acceptable.
Glaucoma: A disease of the eye marked by increased fluid pressure in the eyeball. Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve and may result in blindness if not treated. Surgery may be required for severe cases.
The Guide: Abbreviation for Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which is a booklet published by the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) to help institutions address issues that concern the humane care, use and maintenance of laboratory animals.
Hippocampus: An area of the brain involved with memory and learning.
Hydrocephalus: A fetal defect characterized by an abnormally large head.
Hyperactivity: A condition characterized by excessive restlessness and movement.
Immune system: The integrated system of organs, tissues, cells, and cellular products such as antibodies that differentiates self from nonself and neutralizes potentially pathogenic organisms or substances.
Immunologic response: A bodily defense reaction that recognizes an invading substance and produces antibodies specific against that substance
Independent variable: A manipulated variable in an experiment or study whose presence or degree determines the change in the dependent variable.
Interleukin-6: An immune system component that has a number of functions, most notably to trigger inflammation.Laparoscopy: Examination of the abdominal cavity or performance of minor abdominal surgery using an instrument inserted through a small hole in the abdominal wall.
LD50: The dose of a substance that kills 50 percent of the animals tested.
Leukemia: Any of several cancers of the bone marrow that prevent the normal manufacture of red and white blood cells and platelets, resulting in anemia, increased susceptibility to infection, and impaired blood clotting.
Lithium: A drug used to prevent manic depressive illness and recurrent depression.
Lyme disease: A disease caused by the bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by deer ticks and characterized initially by a bull's-eye-shaped rash followed by flu-like symptoms such as fever, joint pain, and headache. If untreated, it can result in chronic arthritis and neurologic or cardiac dysfunction.
Malaria: An infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating, caused by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito.
Mental retardation: Lack of normal development of intellectual capacities.
Microcephalus: A fetal defect characterized by an abnormally small head.
Microsurgery: Any of various surgical procedures performed under magnification and with small specialized instruments, permitting very delicate operations, as the reconnection of severed blood vessels and nerves.
Moebius syndrome: Affects the cranial nerves and sometimes causes skeletal abnormalities.
Multiple sclerosis: A chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by the hardening of patches of tissue in the brain and spinal cord. The cause of this disease has to do with damage to the sheathes of nerves, and there is no specific treatment. It occurs in varying degrees of severity and, in the worst case, can result in permanent paralysis.
Mumps: An infectious disease characterized by inflammatory swelling of the parotid and usually other salivary glands, and sometimes by inflammation of the testes or ovaries, caused by a paramyxovirus.
Neurobiology: The branch of biology that is concerned with the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system.
Osteoporosis: A softening of the bones that gradually increases and makes them more fragile. It is caused by the gradual loss of the mineral calcium, which helps make bones hard. Osteoporosis occurs most often in elderly women.
Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, and butyl-): The most widely used preservatives in the United States, commonly used in shampoos, foundations, facial masks, hair-grooming aids, nail creams, and permanent wave products.
Pertussis (whooping cough): An infectious disease of the respiratory mucous membrane, caused by Bordetella pertussis, characterized by a series of short, convulsive coughs followed by a deep inspiration accompanied by a whooping sound.
Pollution: The contamination of air, water, or soil by substances that are harmful to living organisms. Pollution can occur naturally, for example through volcanic eruptions, or as the result of human activities, such as the spilling of oil or disposal of industrial waste. Light from cities and towns at night that interferes with astronomical observations is known as light pollution. It can also disturb natural rhythms of growth in plants and other organisms. Continuous noise that is loud enough to be annoying or physically harmful is known as noise pollution. Heat from hot water that is discharged from a factory into a river or lake, where it can kill or endanger aquatic life, is known as thermal pollution.
Psychology: The science of human behavior.
Rhesus (Rh) factor: Any of several antigens present on the surface of red blood cells in most humans. People with Rh factors are classified as having a blood type that is Rh positive, while people who lack the antigen are said to be Rh negative and can produce powerful antibodies that destroy red blood cells if given a blood transfusion from an Rh-positive donor. A woman who is Rh negative and is pregnant with an Rh-positive fetus can produce antibodies that are life-threatening to the fetus.
Rubella: A usually mild contagious viral disease characterized by fever, mild upper respiratory congestion, and a fine red rash lasting a few days: if contracted by a woman during early pregnancy, it may cause serious damage to the fetus.
Schizophrenia: Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.
Sickle cell anemia: A chronic hereditary blood disease, occurring primarily among Africans or persons of African descent, in which abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cellsto become sickle-shaped and nonfunctional, characterized by enlarged spleen, chronic anemia, lethargy, weakness, joint pain, and blood clot.
Smallpox: An acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of papules that blister, produce pus, and form scabs that leave permanent pockmarks.
Stem cell: Unspecialized, undifferentiated cells that can replicate and form a pool of precursor cells. Stem cells are often multipotent; they can be induced to differentiate into a number of different cell types.
Teratogen: An agent, such as a virus, a drug, or radiation that damages a developing fetus.
Tissue slices: An in vitro technique in which tissue is cut into thin and uniform slices so that the structure of the organ is preserved, with all cell types present. In most cases, tissue slices are viable for a few hours or, at most, a few days.
Toxoplasmosis: Infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, transmitted to humans by consumption of insufficiently cooked meat containing the parasite or by contact with contaminated cats or their feces: the illness produced is usually mild, but in pregnant women may damage the fetus.
Typhoid fever: A life-threatening infectious disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhiand transmitted through contaminated food and water. It is characterized by high fever, intestinal bleeding, diarrhea, and skin rash.
Typhus: Any of several forms of infectious disease caused by rickettsia, especially those transmitted by fleas, lice, or mites, and characterized generally by severe headache, sustained high fever, depression, delirium, and the eruption of red rashes on the skin.
* There are no official, government definitions for these terms.
- AALAS ALAT Manual. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Cordova, TN. 1998.
- AALAS LAT Manual. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 2000.
- AALAS LATG Manual. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 2007.
- Dictionary.com. Various dictionaries:
- Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1).
- Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary.
- Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
- The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.
- The American Heritage Science Dictionary.
- The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary.
- Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7).
- WordNet® 3.0.