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Differential Behavioral Profiling Of Stimulant Substances In The Rat Using The LABORAS™ System

V. Castagné, T. Wolinsky, L. Quinn, D. Virley
Published 2012 · Psychology, Medicine

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Preclinical testing requires rapid and reliable evaluation of the main in vivo effects of novel test substances usually in rodents. Nevertheless, the techniques primarily used up to now involve either automated measurement of motor activity or direct observation of behavioral effects by extensively trained investigators. The advantages of these approaches are respectively high-throughput and comprehensive behavioral assessment. Nevertheless, motor activity is only one aspect of animal behavior and it cannot predict the full neurobehavioral profile of a substance, whereas direct observation is time-consuming. There is thus a need for novel approaches that combine the advantages of both automatic detection and comprehensive behavioral analysis. In the present study, we used the LABORAS™ system to analyze motor and non-motor behavior in rats administered various stimulant substances with or without known psychotomimetic properties or abuse liability (amphetamine, cocaine dizocilpine (MK-801), ketamine, modafinil and nicotine). The data show that LABORAS™ clearly detects the stimulating effects on motor behaviors of amphetamine, cocaine, dizocilpine and ketamine in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Differential effects of these test substances on non-motor behaviors, such as grooming, eating and drinking could also be detected. Nicotine displayed only slight stimulating effects on locomotion, whereas modafinil was virtually without effect on the behaviors evaluated by the system. These data with different stimulant substances suggest that LABORAS™ presents an advantage over classical methods performing automated measurements restricted to locomotion. Furthermore, the procedure is considerably more rapid than behavioral observation procedures. Characterization of the behavioral profile of test substances using LABORAS™ should therefore accelerate preclinical studies. In addition, the multi-faceted parameters measured by LABORAS™ permit a more detailed comparison of the behavioral profiles of novel substances with standard reference substances, thereby providing important indicators for orienting further substance evaluation and supporting drug development.
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