Learning and Memory Tests
Learning and Memory Tests
The Novel Object Recognition (NOR) task is used to evaluate cognition, particularly recognition memory, in rodent models of CNS disorders. This test is based on the spontaneous tendency of rodents to spend more time exploring a novel object than a familiar one. The choice to explore the novel object reflects the use of learning and recognition memory.
The Delayed Match to Place protocol is designed to test spatial memory and working memory by observing and recording escape latency, thigmotaxis duration, distance moved and velocity during the time spent in the water maze tank. Tempera paint is added to the water until it becomes opaque and a hidden platform with a diameter that is 1/10 the diameter of the tank is placed about 1cm below the water’s surface. Three quarters of the water tank are surrounded by privacy blinds with at least three 2-Dimensional and/or 3-Dimensional visual cues.
Fear Conditioning (FC) is a type of associative learning task in which mice learn to associate a particular neutral Conditional Stimulus (CS; often a tone) with an aversive Unconditional Stimulus (US; often a mild electrical foot shock) and show a Conditional Response (CR; often as freezing). After repeated pairings of CS and US, the animal learns to fear both the tone and training context. FC is learned rapidly, and after one conditioning session, a very stable and long-lasting behavioral change is produced which is useful for neurobehavioral, genetic, and pharmacological studies.
The Intellicage is an automated testing chamber used to test cognitive ability of socially housed mice. The Intellicage allows for sensitive behavioral testing of cognitive, sensorimotor, and locomotor ability. Automated Chambers have several advantages to classical test design. It allows for high-throughput testing in a socially enriched environment, with up to 15 animals tested in a chamber. Also, the computer software conducts all tests without any experimenter manipulation required. Two major benefits of automated chambers are 1) it saves the experimenter time, and 2) it minimizes the handling of the animals.
Based on the Delayed Match-to-Place experiment conducted in a standard water maze tank, the Modified Barnes Maze test assesses cognitive deficits in rodent models of CNS disorders. The Modified Barnes Maze is thought to measure similar learning abilities as the DMP without forcing the subjects to perform a task under unnatural conditions, i.e. swimming in water. Testing occurs on a circular platform with numerous escape holes ringed around the center of the platform. Bright overhead lighting creates an aversive stimulus, encouraging the animal to seek out the Target Escape Hole, which is attached to an escape tube, and escape from the light. Visual cues placed around the maze act as spatial cues.
The Object-Location Memory task assesses cognition, specifically spatial memory and discrimination, in rodent models of CNS disorders. This test is based on the spontaneous tendency of rodents to spend more time exploring a novel object than a familiar object and also to recognize when an object has been relocated. Testing occurs in an open field arena, to which the animals are first habituated. The next day, four objects of similar material but different shapes are introduced to the arena. They are spaced roughly equidistant from each other with space in the middle for introducing the subject.
The Passive Avoidance task is a fear-aggravated test used to evaluate learning and memory in rodent models of CNS disorders. In this test, subjects learn to avoid an environment in which an aversive stimulus (such as a foot-shock) was previously delivered.
The Intellicage is an automated testing chamber used to test cognitive cognitive ability in socially housed mice. By attaching a satellite box to the chamber, an experimenter can also study exploratory behavior in a novel environment.
T Maze Spontaneous Alternation is a behavioral test for measuring exploratory behavior in animals, especially rodent models for CNS disorders. This test is based on the willingness of rodents to explore a new environment, i.e. they prefer to visit a new arm of the maze rather than a familiar arm. Many parts of the brain—including the hippocampus, septum, basal forebrain, and prefrontal cortex—are involved in this task.
Y Maze Spontaneous Alternation is a behavioral test for measuring the willingness of rodents to explore new environments. Rodents typically prefer to investigate a new arm of the maze rather than returning to one that was previously visited. Many parts of the brain--including the hippocampus, septum, basal forebrain, and prefrontal cortex--are involved in this task.