A New Modification Of The Shuttle Box Device

Nemets V.V.(1), Nikolaev A.I.(1), Pshenov A.B.(1), Sobolev V.Е.(1), Vinogradova E.P.(2) 1- Research Institute of Hygiene, Occupational Pathology and Human Ecology (RIHOPHE), St. Petersburg, 188663, Russia; 2 -Saint Petersburg state University, 7–9, University emb., St. Petersburg, 119034, Russia, e-mail: seva_nemets@list.ru

Abstract

mployees of RIHOPHE carried out the development and assembly of a modified shuttle box device, intended for the implementation of the URAI test (conditioned reflex of active avoidance). This method allows to study the dynamics of training of rodents in conditions of electrobolic stress. Despite the fact that this method was invented more than 40 years ago, it is still one of the most effective methods for assessing cognitive abilities of rodents under stress conditions. In foreign countries, many modifications of the apparatus have been developed, adapted for various test systems (rats, mice), however, these modifications are difficult to manufacture, operate, have a high cost, so many researchers are forced to give preference to other techniques that often do not meet the goals and tasks of the experiment, or are forced to abandon the conduct of cognitive tests. The new domestic version, in comparison with other models, is more simple to use, does not require special software, is autonomous, has great mechanical strength, provides reliable and repeatable results when implementing the URAI technique. The advantage of this device is its adaptation to a biological object – a laboratory rat. The authors have improved the principle of giving an electroball stimulus to increase the effectiveness of stress training. As a conditional signal, a sound pulse is used in the frequencies characteristic of the auditory rodent analyzer (2–4 kHz). In the literature it is shown that high frequency signals serve as an alarm signal in animals, which coincides with the nature of the application of the experimental setup, motivating the animal to effectively perform the test task (running to the other side of the experimental cage). Smooth regulation of the current (within the range of 0–3 mA with an accuracy of 0.1 mA) makes it possible to test animals in different scenarios (at high and low currents) by regulating the level of motivation of the animal, which is necessary, given the personal characteristics of the animal's stress resistance. The estimated cost of the domestic device is much lower than the other counterparts, which gives it an advantage in the market of behavioral equipment. The made modification of the device successfully proved itself in experiments, demonstrating higher learning rates with a significantly lower number of «freezing» reactions than the basic version. Thus, it can be recommended for further use of psychophysiological and neuropharmacological studies.

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