Equipment

IntelliCage

The IntelliCage (NewBehavior, TSE Systems) is a platform for the automated testing of mouse activity and behaviour in the home cage. It is ideal for phenotyping genetically modified mice, profiling animal models of diseases/disorders and screening effects caused by the administration of drugs, surgery or other interventions.

IntelliCage

Features of the IntelliCage

Feature

Advantages

Testing arena is a large home cage

-High Throughput: up to 16 animals can be tested simultaneously.

- More naturalistic behaviour observed. Group-housing reduces stress-induced abnormal behaviour associated with isolation during testing.

-Elimination of stress-inducing transfer of animals from home cage to testing arena.

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-Long-term monitoring is possible.

Automated running of test battery and data acquisition

- Once testing commences, disturbance by operator handling is minimal. Behavioural effects of stress caused by human contact are therefore eliminated.

- The researcher does not need to be present during testing and so can allocate their time to other tasks.

-Behaviour is precisely quantitated and automatically recorded by the software for further processing. Error-prone manual scoring is not required.

-Animal activity can be observed in real time from a remote source, allowing more regular monitoring of their health status.

-Improved standardisation achieved by having minimal disturbance.

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4 operant conditioning chambers per cage

- Multiple behaviours and cognitive functions can be tested in a number of animals simultaneously.

-Space and location can be factors in the experimental design.

RFID tags for animal identification

-Each animal is recognised individually by the system.

-Experimental groups can be co-housed.

-Each animal can be given a unique testing scheme.

 

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-The behavioural profile can be built and progress tracked for each individual within each group.

Fully programmable experimental designs

-The researcher has a high amount of control over the experimental design and therefore can tailor it to their specific needs.

-Pre-made experimental modules are available for simple screening tasks.

See references

TopScan Software

This top-view based behaviour recognition software (CleverSys Inc.) automatically analyses videos of behavioural tasks that are filmed from above (e.g. mazes, open field activity, novel object recognition, conditioned place preference etc.). These are common tasks used to investigate learning and memory, cognition, drug effects, addiction, anxiety, depression, exploration, general locomotive behavior and other behaviours typically studied in the laboratory.

TopScan

The major advantages of this technology over similar commercially available systems are:

  • Higher throughput for all video-based analyses (32 videos may be analysed simultaneously);
  • Specifically developed for use on mice in a laboratory setting;
  • Highly accurate in distinguishing between observed behavioural components (sniffing, grooming, head dipping, elongation etc.);
  • Greater sensitivity in detecting subtle behaviours (involving highly accurate tracking of portions of body limbs rather than using the centre of the animal as the tracking point which is typical of other systems);
  • Wider range of behaviours and events detected;
  • More accurate and reliable when assessing social interactions with multiple animals;
  • Increased stability in sub-optimal lighting conditions.

This highly sophisticated technology enables researchers to analyse a range of rodent behaviors in a more accurate, efficient and flexible manner.

See references

Bussey-Saksida Touchscreen Operant Chambers

This array of 4 operant chambers utilises touchscreen technology and allows laboratory mice to interact directly with a device that is very similar to our very own smartphone or tablet. These screens can be programmed to display a range of visual stimuli in any spatial configuration and, depending on the task (of which a plethora can be programmed), the animal is trained to respond by poking its nose toward a particular image and/or location on the screen. The animal is rewarded for responding correctly (usually with a sweet liquid or food pellet).

The digital nature of this platform allows for the automated, accurate, standardised and high throughput measurement of a large number of cognitive behaviours in the mouse. Furthermore, by closely mirroring tests for cognition in the clinic, the proposed equipment aims to facilitate better translation of preclinical findings to human studies of novel therapies for neuropsychiatric, neurodegenerative and lifestyle disorders.

Gait Analysis System

This complete gait analysis package (Clever Sys Inc.) includes a customised treadmill and GaitScan software. This is a highly sensitive and detailed means of investigating motor coordination and function in animal models of a range of pathophysiological conditions (such as neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury, neuromuscular diseases and Parkinson’s disease).

GaitScan

The test subject (rat or mouse) is forced to walk on a moving treadmill. The transparent belt allows for high speed video capture of the paws as the animal walks. The GaitScan system can detect and analyse many gait related measures such as paw pressure, stride length and frequency, toe spread, body rotation, gait angle, stride coupling, foot-foot spacing, body-foot spacing, plus many more.

Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) & Fear Conditioning

CPP (Clever Sys Inc.]]) is commonly used in preclinical stages to determine the rewarding and aversive effects of drugs. It may also be used to examine aspects of learning and memory, preference of other stimuli (e.g. food or copulation), reinforcement, Pavlovian conditioning etc. This setup can also be used for executing more traditional approaches to studying associative learning such as contextual fear conditioning.

CPP

Our setup of four 3-chamber CPP boxes completely integrates with the TopScan video analysis software for automated hardware control (doors, lights etc.), data collection and data analysis. This system can only be used in mouse studies.

Rotarod

The Rotarod (IITC Inc.) is a well-established means of assaying a number of motor functions in rodents such balance, coordination, motor learning and fatigue/endurance. Rotarod performance provides a sensitive index of motor dysfunction as a result of drug treatment, injury, surgical procedure, genetic manipulation etc. The Rotarod at the ABF can test up to 5 rodents (rats or mice) simultaneously.

Rotarod

See references

Ultrasonic Vocalisation Analysis System

Avisoft Bioacoustics

This equipment (Avisoft Bioacoustics) is high quality and automated means of analysing rodent Ultrasonic Vocalisations (USVs). It’s key functions include:

  • ultrasonic signal detection and recording;
  • digital signal filtering and detailed spectral analyses of USVs across the whole spectrum of natural frequencies;
  • artificial USV generation and playback.

This system is purpose-designed for use on rodents in a laboratory setting. USV analysis is emerging as an increasingly valuable tool for behavioural phenotyping throughout the rodent lifespan and, in particular, for models of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Balance Beam

Custom Made Balance Beam

Our balance beam is a custom built apparatus for the study of balance and coordination in mice. Animals must traverse the length of an elevated, exposed, narrow beam in order to reach the shelter of the goal box.

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Grip Strength Meters

Grip Strength Meters by Columbus Instruments

We have 2 digital forces gauges and accessories for testing muscle strength in rodent limbs. A trapeze-like horizontal bar (grasped by the forelimbs) or a grid (grasped by fore- and hind-limbs) attaches to a digital force gauge. Mice have a strong reflexive tendency to grasp the bar/grid and resist when pulled gently by the tail in the horizontal plane. The gauge will display the peak pull force required to disengage the animal from the bar/grid. This is a reproducible and discreet measure of maximum limb muscle strength. This device is useful for motor function and neuromuscular disease research.
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Optogenetics

Coming Soon...