To identify confounding activity or motoric issues that may interfere with interpretation of other behavioral tests, we employ the locomotor activity/exploration and sensorimotor battery.
The 1-hr Locomotor Activity and Exploration test assesses general activity, exploratory behavior and anxiety-like behavior in rodents. It also serves as a control test in order to identify any differences in general activity (hypoactivity, hyperactivity) that may interfere with interpretation of later cognitive, social or emotionality tests that require motoric response. Animals are evaluated over a 1-hr period in a 47.6 x 25.4 x 20.6 cm enclosure using beambreaks for tracking horizontal and vertical movement. Kinder Scientific Motor Monitor software collects variables such as ambulation (horizontal movement), rearing, location and entries into the center and perimeter zones. The center zone measures 33 x 11 cm and the perimeter zone comprises a 5.5 cm border along the walls of the apparatus.
The sensorimotor battery is a collection of tasks assessing balance, strength, coordination and motoric initiation. Tasks include walk initiation (motoric initiation), balancing on a ledge and platform (balance ability) or balance beam (rats only), climbing a pole (fine motor coordination), and climbing on 60° and 90° angled screens and an inverted screen (coordination and strength). Testing is completed across two consecutive days. Different sizes of ledges and platforms are available for mice and rats, including obese animals.