Automated Operant Assessments of Huntington’s Disease Mouse Models
Huntington’s disease (HD) presents clinically with a triad of motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. Cognitive symptoms often occur early within the disease progression, prior to the onset of motor symptoms, and they are significantly burdensome to people who are affected by HD. In order to determine the suitability of mouse models of HD in recapitulating the human condition, these models must be behaviorally tested and characterized. Operant behavioral testing offers an automated and objective method of behaviorally profiling motor, cognitive, and psychiatric dysfunction in HD mice. Furthermore, operant testing can also be employed to determine any behavioral changes observed after any associated interventions or experimental therapeutics. We here present an overview of the most commonly used operant behavioral tests to dissociate motor, cognitive, and psychiatric aspects of mouse models of HD.
KeywordsHuntington’s disease Mouse model Knockin Transgenic Cognition Behavior Operant 9-Hole box Skinner box Touch screen
E.Y. is supported by a Health and Care Research Wales Health Fellowship award and has also received research funding from the Jacque and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation as well as a previous PhD studentship from the Medical Research Council (MRC), UK.
A.H. is supported by a scholarship of the Swedish Society for Medical research (SSMF) and a starting grant of the Swedish research council (Vetenskapsradet).
Both authors would like to acknowledge past and present members of the Brain Repair Group at Cardiff University and particularly the contribution of Professor Stephen B. Dunnett who has developed and refined these tasks over many decades. Furthermore, we would like to thank David H. Harrison for providing photographs of the operant equipment and Michael A. Yhnell for proofreading the content of this chapter.
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