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About the Rodent Behavioral Testing Facilities

The Rodent Behavioral Testing Facilities are uniquely equipped to support research in rodent spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, specifically in vivo assessments of human-relevant outcomes, including cognitive and motor deficits, anxiety, depression, and aggression. Facilities include a variety of behavioral assessment apparatuses. The Barnes maze and six-foot-diameter Morris Water Maze are used to assess cognitive deficits. The Elevated Plus Maze and Open Field Test are used to assess post-injury activity and anxiety. The Forced Swim Test is used to assess depression-like behaviors, and the Rotarod can be used to assess neuromotor impairments. In addition, a complete set of von Frey filaments can be used to assess facial allodynia and headache-type behavior. The ZVAMC Laboratories also house a DigiGait rodent treadmill with digital analysis, Biosep ladderwalk, grip strength apparatuses, and DSI’s Buxco FinePointe Whole Body Plethysmography chambers, which can assess various indicators of respiratory function. In addition, the TSE Stellar Telemetry system can be used to collect vital signs on an unlimited number of subjects during behavioral and inhalation studies, thus facilitating investigations monitoring social interaction. Lastly, investigations performed in the Rodent Behavioral Testing facilities may be supported by the use of Vicon or other motion tracking or motion analysis systems.
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