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An Exploration Based Cognitive Bias Test for Mice: Effects of Handling Method and Stereotypic Behaviour.

Novak J, Bailoo JD, Melotti L, Rommen J, Würbel H - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: These tests assume that affective state influences cognitive processing, and that animals in a negative affective state interpret ambiguous information as expecting a negative outcome (displaying a negative cognitive bias).Most of these tests however, require long discrimination training.Furthermore, we examined whether maze exploration is affected by the expression of stereotypic behaviour in the home cage.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Animal Welfare, VPH Institute, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 120, 3012, Bern, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
Behavioural tests to assess affective states are widely used in human research and have recently been extended to animals. These tests assume that affective state influences cognitive processing, and that animals in a negative affective state interpret ambiguous information as expecting a negative outcome (displaying a negative cognitive bias). Most of these tests however, require long discrimination training. The aim of the study was to validate an exploration based cognitive bias test, using two different handling methods, as previous studies have shown that standard tail handling of mice increases physiological and behavioural measures of anxiety compared to cupped handling. Therefore, we hypothesised that tail handled mice would display a negative cognitive bias. We handled 28 female CD-1 mice for 16 weeks using either tail handling or cupped handling. The mice were then trained in an eight arm radial maze, where two adjacent arms predicted a positive outcome (darkness and food), while the two opposite arms predicted a negative outcome (no food, white noise and light). After six days of training, the mice were also given access to the four previously unavailable intermediate ambiguous arms of the radial maze and tested for cognitive bias. We were unable to validate this test, as mice from both handling groups displayed a similar pattern of exploration. Furthermore, we examined whether maze exploration is affected by the expression of stereotypic behaviour in the home cage. Mice with higher levels of stereotypic behaviour spent more time in positive arms and avoided ambiguous arms, displaying a negative cognitive bias. While this test needs further validation, our results indicate that it may allow the assessment of affective state in mice with minimal training-a major confound in current cognitive bias paradigms.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Timeline of the study.The initial handling phase (week 3–18) was part of a study reported elsewhere [52].
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pone.0130718.g001: Timeline of the study.The initial handling phase (week 3–18) was part of a study reported elsewhere [52].

Mentions: From the time of arrival, for the duration of 15 weeks, the mice were handled daily by one experimenter (J.R.) using two different handling methods (tail handling, cupped handling) to assess the effect of handling method on stereotypy development [52]. One mouse died during this period so that cage was excluded from the present study. Data on stereotypic behaviour were obtained from video recordings of home cage behaviour performed at the end of the handling phase at 18 weeks of age. From week 19 to 25, the mice remained undisturbed, with weekly cage changes and health checks using the same handling methods previously assigned (i.e. tail handling or cupped handling). Starting at 26 weeks of age, the mice were again handled daily by another experimenter (J.N.) for nine days using the same handling method as before. After three days into the handling phase, spatial discrimination training on an eight arm radial maze was initiated. The mice were trained once daily for six consecutive days before being tested. Throughout training the mice continued to be handled daily while no handling occurred on the day of testing (Fig 1).


An Exploration Based Cognitive Bias Test for Mice: Effects of Handling Method and Stereotypic Behaviour.

Novak J, Bailoo JD, Melotti L, Rommen J, Würbel H - PLoS ONE (2015)

Timeline of the study.The initial handling phase (week 3–18) was part of a study reported elsewhere [52].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4496074&req=5

pone.0130718.g001: Timeline of the study.The initial handling phase (week 3–18) was part of a study reported elsewhere [52].
Mentions: From the time of arrival, for the duration of 15 weeks, the mice were handled daily by one experimenter (J.R.) using two different handling methods (tail handling, cupped handling) to assess the effect of handling method on stereotypy development [52]. One mouse died during this period so that cage was excluded from the present study. Data on stereotypic behaviour were obtained from video recordings of home cage behaviour performed at the end of the handling phase at 18 weeks of age. From week 19 to 25, the mice remained undisturbed, with weekly cage changes and health checks using the same handling methods previously assigned (i.e. tail handling or cupped handling). Starting at 26 weeks of age, the mice were again handled daily by another experimenter (J.N.) for nine days using the same handling method as before. After three days into the handling phase, spatial discrimination training on an eight arm radial maze was initiated. The mice were trained once daily for six consecutive days before being tested. Throughout training the mice continued to be handled daily while no handling occurred on the day of testing (Fig 1).

Bottom Line: These tests assume that affective state influences cognitive processing, and that animals in a negative affective state interpret ambiguous information as expecting a negative outcome (displaying a negative cognitive bias).Most of these tests however, require long discrimination training.Furthermore, we examined whether maze exploration is affected by the expression of stereotypic behaviour in the home cage.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Animal Welfare, VPH Institute, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 120, 3012, Bern, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
Behavioural tests to assess affective states are widely used in human research and have recently been extended to animals. These tests assume that affective state influences cognitive processing, and that animals in a negative affective state interpret ambiguous information as expecting a negative outcome (displaying a negative cognitive bias). Most of these tests however, require long discrimination training. The aim of the study was to validate an exploration based cognitive bias test, using two different handling methods, as previous studies have shown that standard tail handling of mice increases physiological and behavioural measures of anxiety compared to cupped handling. Therefore, we hypothesised that tail handled mice would display a negative cognitive bias. We handled 28 female CD-1 mice for 16 weeks using either tail handling or cupped handling. The mice were then trained in an eight arm radial maze, where two adjacent arms predicted a positive outcome (darkness and food), while the two opposite arms predicted a negative outcome (no food, white noise and light). After six days of training, the mice were also given access to the four previously unavailable intermediate ambiguous arms of the radial maze and tested for cognitive bias. We were unable to validate this test, as mice from both handling groups displayed a similar pattern of exploration. Furthermore, we examined whether maze exploration is affected by the expression of stereotypic behaviour in the home cage. Mice with higher levels of stereotypic behaviour spent more time in positive arms and avoided ambiguous arms, displaying a negative cognitive bias. While this test needs further validation, our results indicate that it may allow the assessment of affective state in mice with minimal training-a major confound in current cognitive bias paradigms.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus