The Laboratory Rat: Relating Its Age with Human’s

Pallav Sengupta


By late 18th or early 19th century, albino rats became the most commonly used experimental animals in numerous biomedical researches, as they have been recognized as the preeminent model mammalian system. But, the precise correlation between age of laboratory rats and human is still a subject of debate. A number of studies have tried to detect these correlations in various ways. But, have not successfully provided any proper association. Thus, the current review attempts to compare rat and human age at different phases of their life. The overall fi ndings indicate that rats grow rapidly during their childhood and become sexually mature at about the sixth week, but attain social maturity 5-6 months later. In adulthood, every day of the animal is approximately equivalent to 34.8 human days (i.e., one rat month is comparable to three human years). Numerous researchers performed experimental investigations in albino rats and estimated, in general, while considering their entire life span, that a human month resembles every-day life of a laboratory rat. These differences signify the variations in their anatomy, physiology and developmental processes, which must be taken into consideration while analyzing the results or selecting the dose of any research in rats when age is a crucial factor.

Keywords: Adult, human age, laboratory rat, physiology, puberty, rat age

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