Behavioral Assessments & In Vivo Assays
Our deep experience supports a full suite of behavioral techniques to cover the key neuroscience disease domains of cognition, mood disorders, psychosis, and neurodegeneration. Beyond these stand-alone services, our broad expertise allows for flexible, customized combinations of behavioral assessments with real-time in vivo microdialysis and/or EEG monitoring. By simultaneously monitoring behaviors and neurochemical changes in the same animals, we offer added value and efficiency by reducing the number of animal samples and the need for multiple experiments.
Case Study: Combining Microdialysis and Behavior
Understand the mechanism of action and behavioral actions of a novel compound targeting Alzheimer’s treatment in an in vivo model.
A customized study program combined push-pull microdialysis with measures of behavior in transgenic mice.
Following repeat treatment with the novel therapeutic agent, pathologic Alzheimer's protein levels were decreased, as treatment antibody levels increased, and a clear improvement in cognitive function was observed in the animals. This pivotal data enabled the further development of the novel agent.
We provide a full range of assays used in the development of compounds to treat anxiety and mood disorders, including the ‘gold standard’ assays that show high predictive validity, as well as newer approaches that are being researched and identified.
- Open field
- Light dark box
- Elevated plus maze
- Novelty suppressed feeding
- Tail suspension
- Forced swim
Figure 1: Anxiety and Depression Tests in Mice
The effects of anti-anxiety drugs using multiple readouts are shown.
Our broad selection of assays associated with aspects of cognition can be used to assess the effects of compounds on various components of learning and memory formation, as well as assessing both pro-cognitive and amnesiac actions of compounds. We often tailor custom protocols and assays to meet precise client needs and requirements.
- Novel object recognition (natural, scop/PCP)
- Contextual/Cue fear condition
- Y-Maze (spontaneous alternation)
- 5 Choice Serial Reaction Time (5CSRTT)
To expedite development of compounds to treat schizophrenia and related disorders, we offer a variety of assays, including a number of well-established ones related to dopaminergic or hypo-glutamatergic hyperactivity. Compounds can also be assessed in the conditioned avoidance assay, as selective disruption of the conditioned response is a characteristic property of both typical and novel antipsychotic agents. As with all of our services, we work to design a program that is specific to client objectives.
- Amphetamine/PCP induced locomotor activity
- Apomorphine induced rearing climbing
- Conditioned Avoidance Response
Figure 2: Schizophrenia-Related Assays
Reversal of PCP-induced social withdrawal as a measure of schizophrenia is shown.
We provide a number of neurodegeneration/movement disorder models, specifically within the area of Parkinson’s disease our range includes utilizing neurotoxic lesions, vector-delivered alpha-synuclein deficits, transgenic animals as well as client-provided animals. Additionally, we can bring in commercially available animal models of other disorders such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. Our flexible approach to experimental design is built for maximum value and efficiency throughout.
Neurodegeneration and extrapyramidal models and studies include:
- 6-OHDA Lesion
- aSyn AAV Model
- Quinolinic acid lesions
- Transgenic animals (commercially available and client provided)
- Cylinder test or rotational behavior
- L-Dopa induced dyskinesia (AIMs)
- PD Psychosis
- Haloperidol-induced catalepsy
Our complete translational biomarker solution for pain research combines standard behavioral readouts with microdialysis to measure both endogenous biomarkers and compound levels.
- Accelerating rotarod performance
- Infra-red motor activity monitoring chambers
- Morris water maze
- Seizure induction/blockade assessment
If you need to develop an overall behavioral profile for a specific compound, our assays, based on automated and observational measures, can assess motor function, activity, and other behavioral changes in a number of ways. We can design the assays to assess the compound on its own, or in combination with other agents that induce a deficit or hyperactive state, depending on your needs and objectives.
- Locomotor activity
- Observational battery
- Grip strength
- Cylinder test
- Drug discrimination
- Dependence potential
- Self administration
- Substance abuse assessment
- CNS safety pharmacology (Irwin testing)
- Conditioned place preference/aversion