Automated measurement of mouse freezing behavior and its use for quantitative trait locus analysis of contextual fear conditioning in (BALB/cJ x C57BL/6J)F2 mice

Veronica S. Valentinuzzi, Daniel E. Kolker, Martha Hotz Vitaterna, Kazuhiro Shimomura, Andrew Whiteley, Sharon Low-Zeddies, Fred W. Turek, Elenice A.M. Ferrari, Richard Paylor, Joseph S. Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

The most commonly measured mouse behavior in fear conditioning tests is freezing. A technical limitation, particularly for genetic studies, is the method of direct observation used for quantifying this response, with the potential for bias or inconsistencies. We report the use of a computerized method based on latency between photobeam interruption measures as a reliable scoring criterion in mice. The different computer measures obtained during contextual fear conditioning tests showed high correlations with hand-scored freezing; r values ranged from 0.87 to 0.94. Previously reported strain differences between C57BL/6J and DBA/2J in context-dependent fear conditioning were also detected by the computer-based system. In addition, the use of computer-scored freezing of 199 (BALB/cJ x C57BL/6J)F2 mice enabled us to detect a suggestive gender-dependent chromosomal locus for contextual fear conditioning on distal chromosome 8 by QTL analysis. Automation of freeze scoring would significantly increase efficiency and reliability of this learning and memory test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-403
Number of pages13
JournalLearning and Memory
Volume5
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1998

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