Automated home-cage-based LightSpot test

Automated evaluation of anxiety-like behaviour

Automated-home-cage-based-LightSpot-testWe developed a one-night anxiety test that can be implemented in a battery of home-cage tests1. The test measures an animal’s response to an anxiogenic stimulus in an automated home-cage, without human intervention. During this test, a light spot is switched on during the dark phase. The light spot induces anxiety-like behaviour, observed as avoidance behaviour (hiding in the shelter compartment). The time spent outside the shelter compartment during the test (LightSpot; solid lines) is compared with the time spent in this area in the preceding night (baseline; dashed lines), when the light spot was turned off.

Diazepam reduces anxiety response

The light spot reduces time spent outside of the shelter in C57Bl/6 mice (orange lines), which is reversed by the typical anxiolytic diazepam (purple lines)1. Diazepam was administered using a voluntary oral administration protocol developed by us. This circumvents the requirement of any mouse handling.

Comprehensive automated phenotyping

Especially when the LightSpot test is combined with several other tests in the same cage, targeting different behavioural domains, a highly detailed profile of a novel mouse mutant can be generated in a matter of a few days.

1The light spot test: measuring anxiety in mice in an automated home-cage environment. Aarts, Loos et al., Behav Brain Res. 2015; doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.06.011