There are several options for metabolic studies at the Department of Biomedicine, and the equipment can often be combined and tailored to suit your exact needs.

Whether you want longer studies using metabolic cages, or intermittent repeated measurements such as body composition data, we’d be happy to discuss and create a protocol that can be adapted to your study.

Metabolic cages

The utility of metabolic cages span many research areas, from drug absorption and effects, to studies on obesity and diabetes, to name a few. There are two different types of cages available at the Department, with both kinds offering monitoring of food and water consumption in animals.  Both cages might also be combined with telemetric observation of blood pressure, biopotentials and activity.

Please contact us for more information about the equipment, legislation, protocols (incl. telemetry) and prices. Services and equipment is only available after consultation and booking.

Photo: Tina Pedersen


HM2 cage: HM2 cages allow for cohousing of animals (6-8 mice/cage) and for longer protocols. Animals are identified using RFID chips that are implanted subcutaneously (requires anesthesia), prior to them being transferred to the metabolic cage. The chips ensure that the animal is correctly identified every time it eats or drinks, and the amount, duration and frequency of feeding and drinking is registered for each animal. Food and water can be manipulated if the protocol requires it. Data is collected in the HM02Lab software, and although animals have to be weighed manually, data is logged to the same datafile/-base. There are 4 cages in total and capacity to monitor up to 32 mice at the same time.

Studies using metabolic cages can easily be combined with body composition analysis, using echoMRI (see below).

Techniplast cages: Metabolic cages for single housing may be available after consultation/booking. These cages are used for collection and separation of faeces and urine, allowing for comprehensive registration of nutrient consumption.


Positron emission tomography (PET) is an imaging technique that uses radioactive substances to visualize and trace metabolic processes; As a radioactive compound is injected, blood flow, metabolism and target organs can subsequently be monitored. PET is thus ideal when determining how a compound is metabolized, or to identify metabolically active tissues (e.g. cancer). A microPET machine is available for scanning of rodents. The technique provides real-time 3D images from anaesthetized animals.

Hyperpolarized MRI

This modality uses traditional MRI technique, but with an injection of endogenous molecules that have been hyperpolarized (meaning they have been “charged”, almost like a magnet). The hyperpolarization creates an increased MRI-signal, thus making it possible to track the molecule after injection. Typically 13C-labelled probes (like 13pyruvate) are used, and so real-time in vivo cellular metabolic events can be monitored, simultaneously as spatial information is obtained.


The EchoMRI provides precise body composition measurements in awake animals. The body composition data include fat percentage, lean body mass, free water and total water mass, and can be obtained from mice. The scanning is fast, requiring only about 1-2 minutes, and can be repeated an unlimited amount of times. The animals must not have implanted metal or RFID chip (thus planning is required if combined with HM2, for example).