Behavioral studies

The study of behavior is a major element of preclinical neuroscience research. Behavioral tests are used to characterize changes in brain function that may be produced by disease, neural injury, genetic modification, drug abuse and addiction, or exposure to various agents and treatments.

Our close working relashionship with Noldus Information Technology, along with recent advancements in digital telemetry provide users the option to take an integrated approach to their traditional behavioral studies.

Indeed, the transmission distance between transmitter and receiver has been extended from 15 cm to 5 m, allowing for uninterrupted behavioral observations concurrent with high resolution physiological recordings.

Our easyTEL+ and rodentPACK digital telemetry systems offer wireless recordings of various physiological endpoints, from small and large animals, during behavioral testing. These systems use the same acquisition hardware, allowing for a seamless and affordable transition to meet changing needs across studies.

Both systems can manage up to 32 single or group-housed subjects with optional synchronized video. Studies may cover exploration of EEG abnormalities as well as changes in seizure liability or sleep, in conjunction with behavioral changes. Indeed, physiological endpoints include up to 4 biopotentials (EEG, EMG, ECG, EOG), 2 pressures (arterial, ventricular), temperature, activity, and respiration rate.

Real-time displays and alarm capabilities within our acquisition software are complemented by our modular analysis platform. This platform offers à la carte modules for neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory analysis needs with synchronized video.

Unique features of each system, sample system designs, and related publications are detailed below.

Related Products

Implants for rats

Head-mounted system for rat

Link with behavior tracking software 

Software module

Morris Water Maze
Tail suspension test

Implantable telemetry

easyTEL+ implantable telemetry can acquire multiple biopotentials (EEG, EMG, ECG, EOG) and pressures (arterial, ventricular), temperature, activity, and respiratory rate in small and large animals. While the small animal implants acquire up to 2 biopotentials and one pressure for up to 150 days, the large animal implants can record 4 biopotentials and 2 pressures for up to 295 days.

A major advantage of fully implantable systems is their compatibility with water-based tests (i.e. Morris Water Maze, Forced Swim Test). Transmitter state (on/sleep) and reconfigurable settings (sampling rate, resolution, transmission power, transmission frequency, etc.) can be controlled wirelessly. This reduces human interaction, thereby increasing the likelihood or the animal’s natural state during behavioral testing. The electrodes on these implants can have a bipolar or common ground configuration.

Examples of an easyTEL+ system set up to acquire physiological data during various behavioral tests are shown below.

Morris Water Maze

Assess spatial learning and understand memory processes and the effects of compounds used to treat cognitive deficits (amnesia, dementia, delirium) with the Morris Water Maze and simultaneous EEG recording.

Tail suspension test

Understand genetic components of mood disorders, screen potential antidepressant drugs, perform behavioral toxicology, and more with the Tail suspension test and simultaneous EEG recording.

Startle Test

Assess sensorimotor deficits or nociception commonly seen in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia or autism, along with sleep scoring analysis from EEG traces.

Rotarod test
T-Maze test

Head-mounted telemetry

rodentPACK is a wireless, digital telemetry system that acquires up to 4 four low-noise biopotentials (cortical or penetrating EEG, EMG, ECG, EOG) as well as activity from rodents 50g or more during behavioral tests. Externalized transmitters can be reused across subjects, cohorts, and studies, reducing start-up costs for behavioral studies requiring a large subject pool.

The custom design of our transmitters (electrodes, electrode wires, polarity) combined with user configurable sampling rate, resolution, and gain, provide users with various study design options. Easily exchangeable batteries last for up to 150 hours of continuous recordings.

Examples of a rodentPACK system set up to acquire physiological data during various behavioral tests are shown below.

Rotarod Test

Examine potential side effects on motor coordination during drug development, with EEG monitoring during Rotarod Test.

T-Maze test

Understand memory processes and neurological diseases (i.e. Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc.) with the T-Maze test and simultaneous EEG recordings.

There are various types of memory (i.e. short-term, long-term) with corresponding subdivisions that employ use of different areas of the brain (i.e. hippocampus, amygdala, cerebellum, and prefrontal cortex). Analysis options include spectral analysis, automated sleep scoring and seizure detection, and more

Elevated Plus Maze

These kind of studies are useful in the development of drugs (i.e. anxiolytics) as well as the mechanisms by which stress triggers anxiety-like behaviors.

Interfacing data acquisition & behavior tracking software

The easySYNC device allows users to externally trigger actions in the IOX2 data acquisition software. The external triggers are driven through our easySYNC TTL* inputs which provides greater timing accuracy and direct external control of physiological data streaming, storage, video start/stop or comment additions. 

The easySYNC device is particularly useful in behavioral studies, as it allows the Noldus EthoVision behavior tracking software to externally trigger EMKA’s IOX2 acquisition software.

Tracking and analysis of the behavior, movement, and activity of an animal is done in EthoVision while synchronized physiological data from EMKA’s easyTEL+ or rodentPACK wireless telemetry systems is collected in the IOX data acquisition software.

* Transistor-Transistor Logic

References & Publications

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