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The RAT-ROTADRUM: A reaction time task depending on a continuous stream of tactile sensory information to the rat.

K Tahon, M Wijnants, E De Schutter

Laboratory for Theoretical Neurobiology, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Journal of neuroscience methods 1:0 (2011)

Abstract - Rats running in their natural habitat monitor the immediate environment with their micro- and macrovibrissae as if reading Braille. These sensory inputs can serve as a cue to change their ongoing motor patterns, for instance to avoid obstacles. To mimic this behavior in a laboratory setting we present a novel behavioral test design. It includes a self-controlled stimulus presentation with sensory discrimination acting as a cue to redirect motor behavior. To acquire the final paradigm, rats undergo a sequenced training protocol. Extracellular neuronal activity was recorded during task performance in the final paradigm. Together with this behavioral test box we present a flexible, easy to build and affordable modular stimulus control system.

PMID: 21767567 [PubMed]