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Rodent behaviour exploration : discover the platform

The Functional Exploration Platform (FEP) is an important area of 150m2 dedicated to the analysis of the behavior of rodents. The behavioral assessment tests available allow characterization of neuropathology rodent models in terms of cognitive abilities, major and fine motor skills, as well as anxiety traits or depression.

Global motor activity is evaluated by actimetry in an automated openfield. Coordination, balance and strength are assessed by rotarod, pole test, prehensile traction test and grip test. Anxiety-like behaviour can be assessed by elevated plus maze and light and dark box; and depression-related behaviour by forced swimming test or sucrose preference. Various mazes of increasing difficulty (Y maze, radial arm maze, Barnes maze and Morris water maze) are dedicated to the exploration of spatial memory (working and reference) as well as procedural memory according to the paradigm used. Short term recognition memory can also be evaluated by the object recognition test. Fear conditioning can be used to test passive avoidance or prepulse inhibition behaviour related to emotional, associative learning/memory and attention respectively.

The equipment is diversified:

  • Full automated operant chambers with interactive tactile screen, analogue to the human CANTAB battery, allowing cognitive tasks assessment in rats and mice models: Touchscreen chambers controlled by ABET II Touch software (Campden Instruments)
  • Wireless  EEG-recording system for mice: Neurologger (NewBehavior, TSE systems)
  • Tracking software and video acquisition:, Ethovision (Noldus), VideoTrack (Viewpoint), ACTITRACK (BIOSEB), Shut Avoid (BIOSEB)
  • Behavioral test arenas available: Barnes maze (Noldus), Radial maze (Noldus), Morris water maze (Viewpoint), Actimetry (BIOSEB), Rotarod (BIOSEB), Grip test (BIOSEB), Y-maze, open-field and object recognition, elevated plus-maze, pole test, prehensile traction test ... 
  • Ventilated units for animals housing in environmental controlled conditions

The platform is in permanent evolution and new paradigms can be developed to fit different models depending of your projects.

In parallel, Lille University has recently opened a new degree about behavioral exploration of rodent. This training is intended for researchers and trainees wishing to develop or use neuro-pathophysiological models in the context of research projects.

The objectives are:

  • Bring the concepts of functional neuro-anatomy and pharmacological modulation of behavior
  • Describe some behavioral disorders and their experimental models
  • Provide tools and advices for rodents’ behavioral assessments
  • Different behaviors will be discussed: the control of movement and action, emotions, motivation, learning and memory.

Participants will be informed of issues relating to the development of a pathophysiological model and a behavioral assessment protocol adapted.
A practical part will be devoted to the realization of behavioral tasks covering the main areas addressed in the theoretical part, with or without pharmacological modulation to familiarize participants with the experimental conditions and data analysis. At the end, the training will be completed by a test. 

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