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Smith IDDRC
Rodent Behavior Facility at KUMC

Equipment


 

Coulbourn Tru-Scan Activity Arena

Coulbourn Tru-Scan Activity Arenas
            Used in assays of:
                        Locomotor Activity
                        Stereotypy
                        Conditioned Startle

           The RBF has four Tru -Scan Activity arenas for use; two small sized arenas for mice (model # E63-10) and two larger sized arenas for rats (model # E63-20). The Tru-Scan systems can be used to accurately measure locomotor behaviors including total distance traveled, number of rearing events, time spent in movement, time spent in rest, etc.  A shock floor is available for the mouse and rat arenas, which enables measurement of conditioned startle responses.  The photo-beam based sensor systems are powered by PC workstations featuring user-oriented software.  The Tru-Scan control and Data Acquisition Software runs on Windows XP, and the real power of the system resides in the software, which can be easily modified to fit the user’s needs and is easy to use.
   
MED-Associates Rota-Rod

MED-Associates Rota-Rod
            Used in assays of:
                        Motor Coordination and Balance
                        Ataxia
                        Drug-induced Motor Impairment

           The RBF has Rota-Rod stations for both rats (model # ENV-575) and mice (model # ENV-575M).  The Rota-Rod treadmills from MED-Associates are designed to accurately measure motor coordination and balance.  Each Rota-Rod treadmill consists of a computer-controlled motor-driven drum with constant or accelerating speed of rotation.  The mouse apparatus is divided into five test zones so that up to five subjects may be tested at the same time.  For rats it is divided into four test zones so that up to four subjects may be tested at the same time.  Rotation speeds can vary between 2-40 RPM.  Amount of time spent on the treadmill is accurately recorded using photo-beam sensors.
   
actometer

BASi Force-Plate Actimeters
            Used in assays of:
                        Locomotor Activity
                        Stereotypy
                        Conditioned Startle
                        Tremor
                        Ataxia

          The RBF houses four actimeters (model # CX-9000) that can be used to measure a remarkably wide variety of locomotor behaviors.  The force-plate actimeter uses a stiff, low-mass horizontal plate coupled to four supporting force transducers positioned at each corner of the plate.  When the test subject moves on the plate, its movements are sensed by the transducers, whose signals are processed by a computer to detect and score a wide range of behaviors or behavioral attributes, including behavioral events occurring at user-defined frequencies or amplitudes.  These include, but are not limited to, stereotypies, tremor, startle, or ataxia.  It simultaneously records larger movements such as locomotion (with mm scale resolution) and fine movements (with frequency resolution up to 50 Hz).
   
Digi Gait

DigiGait Imaging System
            Used in assays of:
                        Speed and Agility
                        Gait Posture and Kinetics

           One DigiGait system from Mouse Specifics, Inc is available to use with either rats or mice.  A video camera located underneath a transparent, motorized treadmill captures images of an ambulating rodent.  Those images are then used to measure multiple gait dynamics, such as gait speed, step pattern, and stride and stance duration.  This system is designed to detect changes in coordination and motor function.
   
grip strength system

San Diego Instruments Grip Strength System
            Used in assays of:
                        Grip Strength

           The RBF has one grip strength system for use with rats or mice.  This system can measure either fore- or hind-limb grip strength. A digital force gauge, fitted with an appropriately sized grip grid for mouse or rat, records the maximal amount of force exerted to grasp and hold the grid.
   
radial arm water maze

Radial Arm Water Maze
            Used in assays of:
                        Short-term Memory Formation (Learning)
                        Memory Retention

           A heated radial arm water maze for mice is available.  The maze features six radially-distributed swimming arms and is used to assess formation and/or retention of short-term memory.  To capture and record maze performance a video analysis system is used.
   
Thermal Analgesiometer

Thermal Analgesiometer
            Used in assays of:
                        Cutaneous Sensitivity to Thermal Stimulation
                        Tail Flick Test
                        Thermal Hyperalgesia
                        Thermal Analgesia

           The RBF has two thermal analgesiometers (a.k.a. “Hargreaves boxes“ or “hot boxes”), one for rats and one for mice.  This apparatus uses a focused projection bulb to measure sensory responsiveness to warming of the skin surface.  A timer automatically actuates when the light source is initiated and paw withdrawal is detected by an array of photodiode motion sensors that stops the timer and terminates the stimulus.  The ideal location for thermal testing of a subject’s skin is one that is naturally resting on and in full contact with the glass (i.e., the plantar surface of the paw). However, body parts close to, but not touching the glass, have been successfully tested as well.
   
Accuscan Hot Plate Analgesia Monitor

Accuscan Thermal Analgesia Monitor
            Used in assays of:
                        Cutaneous Sensitivity to Thermal Stimulation
                        Thermal Hyperalgesia
                        Thermal Analgesia

           The RBF has an Analgesia Monitor (model # AI0407AM0207) consisting of a thermally controlled plate, which is used to measure complex sensory responsiveness to warming.  The controller holds the plate at the set temperature indefinitely without over-shooting.  The unit also includes an electronic timer, which accurately measures the response latency of the subject.  General features include a sophisticated temperature controller (digital set point, auto tuner), built-in electronic timer with 1 ms resolution, a time palm switch for ease of operation, and an acrylic arena cover.
 

 

           
cold plate

IITC Cold Analgesiometer
            Used in assays of:
                        Cutaneous Sensitivity to Cooling
                        Cold Allodynia
                        Thermal (Cold) Analgesia

           One IITC incremental cold plate is available for use with rats or mice.  The unit is capable of latency or threshold based sensory testing.  The plate is microprocessor-controlled, and can be used for incremental warming or cooling from any starting temperature from 0 deg. C to 70 deg. Centigrade in 0.1 degree increments.  The unit can also double as a constant temperature warm or cold analgesiometer.
   
vonfrey

Mechanical Analgesiometry System
            Used in assays of:
                        Cutaneous Sensitivity to Mechanical Stimulation
                        Mechanical Allodynia
                        Mechanical Analgesia

           Several mesh-floor or perforated Plexiglas testing tables are available for testing of mechanical withdrawal thresholds in rats or mice.  Mechanical threshold withdrawal is a sensitive indicator of changes in touch/pressure (mechanical) nociceptive pathology.  Evaluating touch/pressure sensation enables progression or regression of inflammation or sensory neuropathies to be assessed.  These apparati consist of individual containment units that allow subjects to move freely while resting upon a wire-mesh platform (for testing plantar thresholds).  For testing dorsal surfaces, subjects can be housed individually in confinement units that allow freedom of movement.  Testing is performed using either a range of nylon Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments (calibrated to deliver graded bending forces to cutaneous tissue) or an electronic IITC Von Frey apparatus.
   
Randel Selitto Pressure Analgesiometer

Randall Selitto Pressure Analgesiometer
            Used in assays of:
                        Cutaneous Sensitivity to Mechanical Stimulation
                        Mechanical Allodynia
                        Mechanical Analgesia

           One IITC Randall Selitto Instrument, compatible with rat or mouse testing, is available.  The hand held instrument delivers a force, monitored in real-time with a digital meter, to the extremity of a test subject.  Pressure is applied until the desired response is obtained.  Both blunt and pointed applicators are available to meet the needs of individual investigators.
   
meal pattern

PanLab Foodrink System
            Used in assays of:
                        Meal Pattern Analysis
                        Water Consumption

           Two rat meal pattern analysis systems are also available within the RBF.  The PanLab Foodrink Systems allow continuous assessment of rodent food and drink consumption.  Each cage is fitted with external food and drink dispensers installed on weight transducers.  Information from the weight transducers is sent to a dedicated CPU loaded with special software for data acquisition and analysis.
   
telemetry

MiniMitter Telemetry System
            Used in assays of:
                        Meal Pattern Analysis
                        Heart Rate
                        General Locomotion
                        Body Temperature


          The RBF has eight biotelemetry systems available for mic These systems allow users to remotely measure rodent feeding and drinking, heart rate, body temperature, and general locomotor activity.  Uninterrupted, lifetime studies are possible and the novel feature of this system is the ability to reliably and accurately measure physiologic data from freely moving subjects in their home environment.
   
Elevated Maze

Elevated Plus Maze
            Used in assays of:
                        Anxiety
                        Anxiolytic Drug Efficacy

           One elevated plus maze is available for use with either rats or mice.  A video analysis system captures performance of rodents on the maze.  Total time spent in open arms versus closed arms as well as entries into the arms can be measured.

   
Mouse Ymaze

Y Mazes
            Used in assays of:
                        Memory and Spatial Learning
                        Memory Impairment
                        Drug Enhnacement of Learning and Memory

           One rat and one mouse Y-maze are available to test memory and spatial learning.  A video system is used to capture time spent and distance traveled in each maze arm during the testing period.

   
Light Dark Box

Light/Dark Arena
            Used in assays of:
                        Anxiety
                        Anxiolytic Drug Efficacy

           Two light/dark arena inserts, compatible with rat or mouse testing, are available for the BASi Force Plate Actimeters.  The dark box insert creates an opaque environment in exactly half of the arena and contains a small opening to allow the animal to pass freely between light and dark areas.  An adjustable intensity light, measured with a lux meter, is located above the open field.  BASi software can automatically calculate percentage of time spent in light vs dark areas as well as distanced traveled, number of entries into each area, and other associated parameters.  The light/dark place preference test is a classic test of anxiety and anxiogenic agents.

   
Flip Camera

iFLIP Video Camcorders

            Two iFLIP video camcorders are available for use to RBF users.  The small handheld cameras are capable of capturing up to 60 minutes of video and transfer to computer via flip out USB arm.  These camcorders are remarkably useful for capturing video of rodents on any number of behavioral apparati, such as plus-maze, y-maze, water maze, and others.  Video documentation of behavioral experiments allows users to re-evaluate noted behaviors long after the experiment is completed, and may allow novel measurements without the need for additional experimental subjects.

   
IR WebcamIR emitters

Infra Red Webcams and Lighting

            Two Infra Red webcams fitted with IR emitters as well as additional IR panels are available to use in the RBF facility.  Each camera is capable of viewing up to 4 small rodent cages at once at a distance of less than 24 inches, producing optimal individual animal resolution.  The cameras are useful for remote observation of animals in dark or low light conditions in a home cage environment. 

NOTE: Equipment protocols and training are available upon request. Contact Michelle Winter (mwinter2@kumc.edu) or Dr. Ken McCarson (kmccarso@kumc.edu ) for information regarding access to the RBF facility and information about the equipment housed there.