Eco-HAB is an open source, RFID-based system for automated measurement and analysis of social preference and in-cohort sociability in mice. The system closely follows murine ethology. It requires no contact between a human experimenter and tested animals, overcoming the confounding factors that lead to irreproducible assessment of murine social behavior between laboratories. In Eco-HAB, group-housed animals live in a spacious, four-compartment apparatus with shadowed areas and narrow tunnels, resembling natural burrows. Eco-HAB allows for assessment of the tendency of mice to voluntarily spend time together in ethologically relevant mouse group sizes. Custom-made software for automated tracking, data extraction, and analysis enables quick evaluation of social impairments. The developed protocols and standardized behavioral measures demonstrate high replicability. Unlike classic three-chambered sociability tests, Eco-HAB provides measurements of spontaneous, ecologically relevant social behaviors in group-housed animals. Results are obtained faster, with less manpower, and without confounding factors.
- Alicja Puścian
- Hans-Peter Lipp
- Ewelina Knapska
- Szymon Łęski
- Grzegorz Kasprowicz
- Ewelina Knapska
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animals were treated in accordance with the ethical standards of the European Union (directive no. 2010/63/UE) and Polish regulations. All experimental procedures were pre-approved by the Local Ethics Committee.
- Peggy Mason, Reviewing Editor, University of Chicago, United States
© 2016, Puścian et al.
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