Whole Body Metabolic Assessment

In the study of diabetes related phenotypes, measurement of whole body metabolism is often necessary. These studies can be carried out through the mouse phenotyping core with metabolic chambers (Columbus Instruments, Columbus OH). The Diabetes Research Center metabolic chambers measure not only the mouse’s energy expenditure via indirect calorimetry but also food intake, three axis movement, and water intake. These data allow investigators also to calculate respiratory quotient. Additionally, the system includes two treadmills housed within metabolic chambers, enabling measurement of animals’ energy expenditure during exercise.  New Promethion Core Systems (Sable Systems, Las Vegas, NV) are expected to be delivered by Fall of 2022.

Equipment and Location

Measuring energy expenditure during exercise requires significant training. The calorimetry system is located in room 704 of the Russ Berrie Barrier Facility.


The design and planning of experiments are done in consultation with Core Manager Eleanor Ables and Core Director Anthony Ferrante. Scheduling consultations and system usage is done through Eleanor Ables; (212) 851-5302.  Ms. Ables will provide access to the scheduling calendar and fee schedule. 

Once an experiment has been scheduled the mice will be transferred into RBP room 704. All transfers MUST be arranged through the Institute for Comparative Medicine staff. There will be no exceptions. The mice also must be transferred to the Diabetes Research Center protocol; our staff will provide you with the necessary information. Mice should be transferred by the Wednesday prior to the time of your scheduled experiment. Once mice have been transferred they are then placed in the system on Monday. Experiments run for 2-5 days. Typically, the first 1-2 days are used as an acclimation period. Younger mice tend to require less acclimatization time. Once the experiment is completed the mice are removed from the chambers. No mice are allowed back into any barrier facility once brought into RB704, and therefore, unless otherwise instructed, the mice are marked for sacrifice when removed from the system.

Quality Control

The Core uses lean and obese (Lep ob/ob) mice with and without  food to measure the precision of the indirect calorimetry functions. The system, including the gas and feeding sensors, is calibrated every three months, and as needed. Additionally, a quality assessment query is sent to all users of the system.