Locomotor Behavior

R. Christopher Pierce1, Peter W. Kalivas2

1 Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, 2 Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 8.1
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0801s40
Online Posting Date:  July, 2007
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Abstract

The study of locomotor activation in rodents does not involve extensive learning or conditioning, and so this dependent measure is often used as the initial screen for pharmacological effects predictive of therapeutic efficacy of a drug class in humans. Methods for evaluating locomotor behavior in rodents fall into two general categories: automated monitoring of behavior and direct observational techniques. This unit presents protocols for measurement of locomotor activity using photocell‐based automated monitoring systems, and direct observation using interval and ordinal scales. Other methods used to quantify locomotor activity include video‐based systems, rotometers, and running wheels; these are discussed in the commentary. The protocols provided are designed for rats, although they can easily be adapted for use with mice and other rodents. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 40:8.1.1‐8.1.9. © by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: Photocell; behavior; locomotor; mouse; rat; automated

     
 
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Locomotor Quantification by Photocell‐Based Systems
  • Alternate Protocol 1: Locomotor Assessment by Direct Observation Using Interval and Ordinal Scales
  • Support Protocol 1: Data Analysis
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
     
 
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Materials

Basic Protocol 1: Locomotor Quantification by Photocell‐Based Systems

  Materials
  • Rat subjects of appropriate strain, sex, and age (see unit 8.3)
  • Soapy water
  • 90% ethanol
  • Saline for vehicle injection
  • Drug to be tested
  • Photocell‐based activity monitor (Omnitech or equivalent)
  • Sound‐attenuating chamber, equipped with lighting and circulating fresh air
  • Computer system with commercial analytical software (e.g., Omnitech) and digital converter interface
  • Sponge
  • Printer

Alternate Protocol 1: Locomotor Assessment by Direct Observation Using Interval and Ordinal Scales

  • Plexiglas behavioral arena, 40 × 40 × 40–cm
  • Sound‐attenuating chamber equipped with lighting, fresh air circulation, and large two‐way mirror
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Figures

Videos

Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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   Choi, S., Wong, L.S., Yamat, C., and Dallman, M.F. 1998. Hypothalamic ventromedial nuclei amplify circadian rhythms: Do they contain a food‐entrained endogenous oscillator? J. Neurosci. 18:3843‐3852.
   Halseth, A.E., Fogt, D.L., Fregosi, R.F., and Henrickson, E.L. 1995. Metabolic responses of rat respiratory muscles to voluntary exercise training. J. Appl. Physiol. 79:902‐907.
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   Tucker, J.C. and File, S.E. 1986. The effects of tricyclic and “atypical” antidepressants on spontaneous locomotor activity in rodents. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 10:115‐121.
   Ujike, H. 2002. Stimulant‐induced psychosis and schizophrenia: The role of sensitization. Curr. Psychiatry Rep. 4:177‐184.
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