Chronobiotron is a unique structure specialized in the study of biological rhythms through in vivo functional exploration of rodents and a platform for husbandry of various rodent models for chronobiology studies. Chronobiotron has specific equipment devoted to study biorhythms, i.e. all the mechanisms set up by the organisms to adapt themselves to environmental cyclic changes.

This device is unique in Europe, but also unique at the international scale because of the housed species, the provided services and the advances in chronobiology. It provides the infrastructure requested to implement experimental protocols in chronobiology and neurobehavioural studies on rodents. Thus, the facilities are designed to reproduce in a faithful and controlled manner, environmental changes such as the photoperiod (day/night alternation) and the temperature (helpful to study the phenomena related to hibernation). 


In parallel, Chronobiotron houses interesting species for chronobiology studies:

  • nocturnal rodents: rats and mice, genetically modified or not
  • seasonal models: golden hamster, also Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) and Siberian hamster (Phodopus sungorus)
  • a model displaying a circannual clock: European hamster (Cricetus cricetus)
  • a model of diurnal rodent: (Arvicanthis ansorgei, unique colony in the world)


At a single site, the Chronobiotron combines three complementary entities:

  • A conventional animal facility (900 m2) with experimental procedure rooms dedicated to chronobiology (circadian, seasonal, circannual rhythms) and suites for behavioural procedures, studies on sleep physiology, and electrophysiological experiments
  • A transgenic zone (480 m2) for breeding purposes of mutant rat and mice lines, either naturally mutant or genetically modified
  • A secure area of biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) (150 m2), combining animal facility and laboratory for the manipulation of infectious agents in risk groups 2 or 3

Every entity is equipped with experimental devices for functional exploration of the hosted models, to serve the scientific community.

Chronobiotron is IBiSA certified.

  • Breeding of rodents for chronobiology: rats / mice (nocturnal rodents), golden hamsters (photoperiod and hibernation model), Siberian hamsters (photoperiod with daytime torpor at low temperature), European hamsters (circannual clock and hibernation model) and Arvicanthis ansorgei (diurnal rodent)
  • Breeding and management of genetically modified mice / rats lines under different biosafety levels
  • Production of animal models for physiology (adrenalectomy, gonadectomy, pinealectomy), with or without hormone therapy
  • Telemetry records of body temperature and general locomotion activity by infrared sensor, video-traking or wheel activity
  • Analysis of the sleep-wake cycle by multiparameter recordings (EEG, EOG, EMG, ECG)
  • Tests for behavioral phenotyping of anxiety / depression: light-dark box, open field, mazes, forced swimming, tail suspension.
  • Metabolic Exploration: dietary restriction, glucose, glucose tolerance, indirect calorimetry, etc ...
  • Intracerebral microdialysis
  • Protocols way of Directors pharmacological substances
  • Continuous recording of bioluminescence (luciferase system) in vivo intracerebral

  • Organization of training sessions in chronobiology
    ◊ Neurobiology of rhythms
    8-10 December 2014, Strasbourg
    ① Acquisition of fundamental knowledge in daily and seasonal rythmicity of biological functions
    ② Acquisition of basic knowledge to elaborate experimental protocols and to implement techniques specific to rhythms analysis


  • Organization and participation to training sessions proposed by the University of Strasbourg
    ◊ Animal care training: basic concepts and good practice
    Last training : 24-25 October 2013,Strasbourg
    No session in 2014, next session in 2015: dates not determined yet
    ① Training program for zootechnical staff without preliminary training or non zootechnical staff that may intervene in animal facilities
    ② Fundamentals of animal testing, the operation of an animal facility, regulation and animal care

    ◊ Regulatory training in animal experimentation for staff required to directly participate to experimentation on animals (former level II)
    15-17 September & 6-8 October 2014 (2 x 3 days), Strasbourg
    The objective is to acquire the mandatory qualification to practice animal experimentation in accordance with the transposition of the new European Directive 2010/63.

    ◊ Pathology of laboratory animals (all species)
    31st March to 1st April 2014, Strasbourg
    ① Understanding and implemention of prophylaxis and sanitary control in animal facilities
    ② Detection of medical conditions that may affect the results of tests in progress
    ③ Choice of the appropriate solution in case of pathology, in view of the parameters involved
    ④ General pathology (pathogens, role of environment and hosts, evolution of the infectious process, sanitary controls)
    ⑤ Interference between pathologies and experimentation. Zoonoses.
    ⑥ Specific pathologies (rodents, rabbits, primates, carnivores, pigs, fish).

    ◊ To submit an application for project authorization to an ethics committee for animal experimentation
    22nd September 2014, Strasbourg
    Students will be able:
    ① to complete an application for project authorization using animals for scientific purposes
    ② to know the rules and procedures of an ethics committee in animal experimentation

  • Master 1 & 2 practical works
    University of Strasbourg
    Master of Ecophysiology and Ethology - Animal ecophysiology - Master of cellular and integrated neurosciences - Neurosciences, cognitive physiology, cophysiology and ethology - UE « neurobiology of rhythms »

  • Technical training of students, researchers, technicians: animal handling, methods of drug administration, samplings, functional explorations

  • Organization to host AFSTAL workshops at Strasbourg

  • Methodological developments for the exploration of biological rhythms on nocturnal rodent models (mouse, rat, hamster) and diurnal models (Arvicanthis ansorgei) (methods such as telemetry, bioluminescence ...)
  • Development of tools to combine the studies of biorhythms with the analysis of other main physiological functions (nutrition, endocrine metabolism, behavior, sleep ...)
  • Development of animal models to study pathologies linked to biorhythms disruptions (sleep disorders, diabetes, retinal pathology)

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Chronobiotron logoRat, mouse, hamsters and diurnal rodents

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