Neurobehavioral Core

A Neurobehavioral Core is currently being developed with support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to facilitate testing of rodent models for various behaviors, including locomotor activity, circadian rhythms, conditioned reward, anxiety, and learning and memory. This core facility will be available to faculty and trainees in the department. For more information, contact Lique Coolen.

Presently available:

Locomotor Activity Chambers (San Diego Instruments; 16x16 photobeam array)

Features: Ability to track distance traveled and zones
Measures multiple test paradigms
Convenient, menu based software to track & store activities
Exportable data files for powerful analysis capabilities
Clear enclosure with smooth acrylic walls and base
Adjustable frame height to conform to animal (can be used for all rodents)

For more information:

Conditioned Place Preference Apparatus (for rat)

This test chamber has been designed with three distinct compartments that can be separated by optional manual or automatic guillotine doors. Automated data collection is accomplished by adding fifteen infrared photobeam detectors. For more information:

Telemetry monitoring for circadian rhythms (Data Science International)

A complete system for monitoring and collecting data from conscious, freely moving rodents. Each animal receives an implantable transmitter and receiver. Transmitters and receivers are available from Data Science International in a variety of models, thus allowing optimal performance for a wide variety of animals and cage types. Transmitters are designed to monitor one or more physiologic parameter (e.g. blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, ECG, EEG, etc.) and transmit the digitized data via radio frequency signals to a nearby receiver. The data are collected using the Dataquest A.R.T. TM data acquisition system.

For more information:

Lee HS, Nelms JL, Nguyen M, Silver R, Lehman MN (2003) The eye is necessary for a circadian rhythm in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Nat Neurosci. 2003 Feb;6(2):111-2.

Barnes Circular Maze

Barnes Circular Platform The Barnes Circular Platform has been used successfully as a spatial learning and memory task for rats and mice. This task makes use of the rodentís preference for a dark environment. The bright light combined with wind from a fan hung above the platform motivates the rats to search and go into the attached escape box beneath one of the 20 holes located along the border of platform. The colored cues that are placed surrounding the platform provide the rats or mice with a visual and spatial reference. It has been demonstrated that removal of these cues impairs cognitive performance in the task indicating the spatial nature of the task. There are other advantages to the use of the Barnes Circular Platform including minimal reliance on motor skills (i.e. power of endurance and speed are not critical); and no odor cues or motor sequences can be used to assist the task performance. In addition, there is no food deprivation, submersion into water, or the use of electrical shock which can involve potential stress and/or neuro-endocrinological effects which may interfere with the task performance. In this regard, the Barnes Circular Platform test provides an ideal cognitive task in evaluating learning and spatial memory deficits in rodent animal models.

Cheng G, Whitehead SN, Hachinski V and Cechetto DF. (2006) Effects of Pyrrolidine Dithiocarbamate on Beta-amyloid (25-35)-induced Inflammatory Responses and Memory Deficits in the Rat. Neurobiology of Disease (Article In Press)

Soon to come:

Pair Pulse Inhibition Apparatus
More Locomotor Activity Chambers
Conditioned Place Preference apparatus for mice
Elevated Plus Maze
Radial Maze

University of Western Ontario Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology School of Medicine