Behavioral Tests for Preclinical Intervention Assessment

Department of Psychology, Institute for Neuroscience, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
NeuroRx 11/2006; 3(4):497-504. DOI: 10.1016/j.nurx.2006.08.001
Source: PubMed


Select functional outcome tests commonly used for evaluating sensorimotor and cognitive capacity in rodents with focal intracerebral ischemic or hemorrhagic injury are described, along with upgrades and issues of concern for translational research. An emphasis is placed on careful quantitative and qualitative assessment of acute and long-term behavioral deficits, and on avoidance of frequent pitfalls. Methods for detecting different degrees of injury and treatment-related improvements are included. Determining the true potential of an intervention requires a set of behavioral analyses that can monitor compensatory learning. In a number of preclinical outcome tests, animals can develop remarkably effective "tricks" that are difficult to detect but frequently lead to dramatic improvements in performance, particularly with repeated practice. However, some interventions may facilitate learning without promoting brain repair, but these may not translate into a meaningful level of benefit in the clinic. Additionally, it is important to determine whether there are any preinjury functional asymmetries in order to accurately assess damage-related changes in behavior. This is illustrated by the fact that some animals have chronic endogenous asymmetries and that others, albeit infrequently, can sustain a spontaneous cerebral stroke, without any experimental induction, that can lead to chronic deficits as reflected by behavioral, imaging, and histological analyses. Finally, a useful new modification of the water maze that involves moving the platform from trial to trial within the target quadrant is reviewed, and its advantages over the standard version are discussed.

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    • "The predictive validity is arguably one of the most important and is typically defined as the ability of a rodent behavioral test to predict the effect of a drug in humans. Determining the predictive validity requires an existing clinical treatment which can be back-tested in the rodent behavioral test under evaluation (Schallert, 2006). An example is benzodiazepines, which are widely used to treat anxiety in patients and also reduce the extent of rodents' anxiety-like behavior in both the light-dark box test (Crawley and Goodwin, 1980) and the EPM (Pellow and File, 1986). "
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    ABSTRACT: A large variety of rodent behavioral tests are currently being used to evaluate traits such as sensory-motor function, social interactions, anxiety-like and depressive-like behavior, substance dependence and various forms of cognitive function. Most behavioral tests have an inherent complexity, and their use requires consideration of several aspects such as the source of motivation in the test, the interaction between experimenter and animal, sources of variability, the sensory modality required by the animal to solve the task as well as costs and required work effort. Of particular importance is a test's validity because of its influence on the chance of successful translation of preclinical results to clinical settings. High validity may, however, have to be balanced against practical constraints and there are no behavioral tests with optimal characteristics. The design and development of new behavioral tests is therefore an ongoing effort and there are now well over one hundred tests described in the contemporary literature. Some of them are well established following extensive use, while others are novel and still unproven. The task of choosing a behavioral test for a particular project may therefore be daunting and the aim of the present review is to provide a structured way to evaluate rodent behavioral tests aimed at drug discovery research.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 07/2014; 8:252. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00252 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "The measurement of the number of forelimb wall contacts produced scores that represent overall asymmetry, which is correlated closely with the degree of striatal DA depletion (Schallert and Tilleron, 2000; Cenci and Lundblad, 2005). The individual use of each forelimb was calculated according to Schallert (2006), and using the following calculation: % ipsilateral forelimb = [(ipsilateral + "
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    ABSTRACT: The C-terminal domain of the heavy chain of tetanus toxin (Hc-TeTx) is a peptide that has a neuroprotective action against dopaminergic damage by MPP(+), both in vitro and in vivo. The trophic effects of Hc-TeTx have been related to its ability to activate the pathways of the tropomyosin receptor kinase, which are crucial for survival process. Our group had previously shown neuroprotective effect of intramuscular Hc-TeTx treatment on animals with a dopaminergic lesion; however, there is no evidence indicating its restorative effects on advanced dopaminergic neurodegeneration. The aim of our study was to examine the restorative effects of an intramuscular injection of the Hc-TeTx fragment on the nigrostriatal system of hemiparkinsonian rats. The animals were administered with a vehicle or Hc-TeTx (20μg/kg) in the gastrocnemius muscle for three consecutive days post-dopaminergic lesion, which was made using 6-hydroxydopamine. Post-Hc-TeTx treatment, the hemiparkinsonian rats showed constant motor asymmetry. Moreover, the ipsilateral striatum of the post-Hc-TeTx group had a lower number of argyrophilic structures and a major immunorreactivity to Tyrosine Hydroxylase in the striatum and the Substantia Nigra pars compacta compared to the 6-OHDA group. Our results show the restorative effect of the Hc-TeTx fragment during the dopaminergic neurodegeneration caused by 6-OHDA.
    Neuroscience Research 05/2014; 84. DOI:10.1016/j.neures.2014.04.008 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    • "This test evaluates the spontaneous exploratory behavior of rodents [40], [41]. The cylinder test reveals forelimb preference when the animal rears to explore its environment by making forelimb contact with the cylinder walls. "
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    ABSTRACT: Stroke is a devastating disease. Both excitotoxicity and oxidative stress play important roles in ischemic brain injury, along with harmful impacts on ischemic cerebral tissue. As guanosine plays an important neuroprotective role in the central nervous system, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of guanosine and putative cerebral events following the onset of permanent focal cerebral ischemia. Permanent focal cerebral ischemia was induced in rats by thermocoagulation. Guanosine was administered immediately, 1 h, 3 h and 6 h after surgery. Behavioral performance was evaluated by cylinder testing for a period of 15 days after surgery. Brain oxidative stress parameters, including levels of ROS/RNS, lipid peroxidation, antioxidant non-enzymatic levels (GSH, vitamin C) and enzymatic parameters (SOD expression and activity and CAT activity), as well as glutamatergic parameters (EAAC1, GLAST and GLT1, glutamine synthetase) were analyzed. After 24 h, ischemic injury resulted in impaired function of the forelimb, caused brain infarct and increased lipid peroxidation. Treatment with guanosine restored these parameters. Oxidative stress markers were affected by ischemic insult, demonstrated by increased ROS/RNS levels, increased SOD expression with reduced SOD activity and decreased non-enzymatic (GSH and vitamin C) antioxidant defenses. Guanosine prevented increased ROS/RNS levels, decreased SOD activity, further increased SOD expression, increased CAT activity and restored vitamin C levels. Ischemia also affected glutamatergic parameters, illustrated by increased EAAC1 levels and decreased GLT1 levels; guanosine reversed the decreased GLT1 levels and did not affect the EAAC1 levels. The effects of brain ischemia were strongly attenuated by guanosine administration. The cellular mechanisms involved in redox and glutamatergic homeostasis, which were both affected by the ischemic insult, were also modulated by guanosine. These observations reveal that guanosine may represent a potential therapeutic agent in cerebral ischemia by preventing oxidative stress and excitotoxicity.
    PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e90693. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0090693 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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