, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 323-330

A remote control training system for rat navigation in complicated environment

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Abstract

A remote control system has been developed to deliver stimuli into the rat brain through a wireless micro-stimulator for animal behavior training. The system consists of the following main components: an integrated PC control program, a transmitter and a receiver based on Bluetooth (BT) modules, a stimulator controlled by C8051 microprocessor, as well as an operant chamber and an eight-arm radial maze. The micro-stimulator is featured with its changeable amplitude of pulse output for both constant-voltage and constant-current mode, which provides an easy way to set the proper suitable stimulation intensity for different training. The system has been used in behavior experiments for monitoring and recording bar-pressing in the operant chamber, contriolling rat roaming in the eight-arm maze, as well as navigating rats through a 3D obstacle route. The results indicated that the system worked stably and that the stimulation was effective for different types of rat behavior controls. In addition, the results showed that stimulation in the whisker barrel region of rat primary somatosensory cortex (SI) acted like a cue. The animals can be trained to take different desired turns upon the association between the SI cue stimulation and the reward stimulation in the medial forebrain bundle (MFB).

Project supported by the Zhejiang University Grant for Multiple Discipline Associated Research, Zhejiang University, China