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Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects feelings, thoughts and behavior. Clinical depression and anxiety can be debilitating disorders suffered separately or encountered in the course of schizophrenia. They may compromise social interactions, and they are associated with an increased risk of self-harm and suicide.

Suggested primary analysis

Purpose

The startle is a reflexive response to strong exteroceptive stimuli (acoustic or tactile).  Pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) is the normal reduction of the startle reflex to an intense stimulus (acoustic or tactile) when this stimulus is immediately preceded by a non-startling prepulse.  PPI provides an operational measure of sensorimotor gating which reflects the ability of an organism to properly inhibit sensory information. Amplitude of startle might give indication about motor deficits or anxiety. This assay could also be used to analyze depression-like behavior.

Strain background references

Behavior_Prepulse inhibition graph

Equipment

Eight startle chambers (SRLAB, San Diego Instruments, San Diego, CA) are used for evaluation of the acoustic or tactile startle. 

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis.

Purpose

The startle reflex is a ubiquitous, cross-species integrated reflexive response to strong exteroceptive stimuli. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) is the normal reduction of the startle reflex to an intense stimulus (acoustic or tactile) when this stimulus is immediately preceded  by a non-startling prepulse (auditory, visual or tactile stimuli). PPI phenomenon is viewed as an operational measure of sensorimotor gating, which reflects a basic inhibitory process that regulates sensory input to the brain and allows the early stage of information processing to occur without disruption. Deficits in PPI have been observed in several neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by a loss of normal ability to filter or gate intrusive or irrelevant sensory, motor or cognitive information such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Huntington’s disease. With the present procedure, various protocols are used in which stimuli of different modalities and duration (acoustic, tactile and visual) are used alone or in combination in order to assess startle respones and cross-modal prepulse inhibition of startle reflex.

Purpose

The elevated plus maze test allows an evaluation of anxiety for height. Animals are confronted to a choice between threatening environment, an exposed runway elevated from the floor, and relatively safe enclosure. An anxious animal will normally choose to spend time in the closed arms and rarely venture out onto the open arms.

Behavior_Elevated maze Equipment picture

Sample test results

Behavior_Elevated maze 1 graph Behavior_Elevated maze 2 graph Behavior_Elevated maze 3 graph

Equipment

An automated elevated maze device  (Imetronic, Pessac, France).

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis.

Purpose

In the forced swim procedure, mice are forced to swim in unescapable situation. After a period of vigorous struggling, the animal becomes immobile, or makes only those movements necessary to keep its head above the water. The immobility observed in this test is considered to reflect a state of despair. 

Strain background references

Equipment

Glass beakers filled with water at 22-23 °C.

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis.

Purpose

The light-dark test allow an evaluation of emotional responses of animals in a highly illuminated situation. Mice will normally show a preference for the dark compartment, but they also exhibit some incursions into the lit compartment. Aberrant behavior may indicate changes in anxiety. 

Strain background references

 
 
 

Behavior_Light dark graph

Equipment

4 automated light/dark boxes (Imetronic, Pessac, France).

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis.

Purpose

This test is used to evaluate exploratory drive, reactivity to novelty and emotionality. Habituation to the open field, which is a form of non-associative learning, is also measured.

Strain background references

  Behavior_Open field 1 graph

Behavior_Open field 2 graph

Behavior_Open field 3 graph

Mandillo S, Tucci V, Holter SM, Meziane H, Banchaabouchi MA, Kallnik M, Lad HV, Nolan PM, Ouagazzal AM, Coghill EL, Gale K, Golini E, Jacquot S, Krezel W, Parker A, Riet F, Schneider I, Marazziti D, Auwerx J, Brown SD, Chambon P, Rosenthal N, Tocchini-Valentini G, Wurst W. 
Reliability, robustness, and reproducibility in mouse behavioral phenotyping: a cross-laboratory study. 
Physiol Genomics. 2008 Aug 15;34(3):243-55. Epub 2008 May 27.

Equipment

 

4-8 automated openfield arenas (Panlab, Barcelona, Spain).

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis.

Suggested secondary analysis

See our Anatomopathology dedicated page to explore all our available tests.

See our Gene expression analysis dedicated page to explore our different related tests.

Purpose

Anhedonia, or reduced sensitivity to pleasure, is one of the core symptoms of depression which can be modeled in animals. The hedonic behavior can be evaluated by measuring the preference for sucrose when the animal has free access to two bottles containing either a sucrose solution or water.

Equipment

Specific bottles for evaluation of liquid consumption. 

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis

Purpose

The tail suspension test is among the most widely utilized rodent model of depression. When mice are suspended by the tail to a tail hanger, they will normally undertake an initial period of vigorous struggling after which the animal gradually abates into immobility. The duration of immobility has been inferred as an index of behavioral despair.

Sample test results

Equipment

2 automated cages are used (MED Associates Inc, St Albans, Vermont).

Recommendations

10 mice per group are recommended for reliable data analysis.

Food challenge

Purpose

With several months notice, we can procure and provide a variety of different restriction diets for nutritional analyses in conjuction with our other analyses.

Models and Challenges

Purpose

With several months notice, we can procure and provide a variety of different restriction diets for nutritional analyses in conjuction with our other analyses.