An Alternative Low-Cost Solution for Tracking Laboratory Animals

  • Erhan Kızıltan
  • Leyla Aydın

Abstract

Objectives: Monitoring animal behavior under various conditions can provide important information on their neuropsychological status, including learning, memory, and cognitive activity. Several commercial tracking systems are available, but they may be too expensive for low-budget projects. This study developed an alternative solution for automated animal tracking in behavioral experiments. Methods: The proposed system was designed to analyze a set of images sampled from a recorded video file in chronological order. The instantaneous location of the animal in each image frame was defined automatically, using a feature-extraction algorithm. Distances traveled were calculated using the coordinates of the successive instantaneous locations. The algorithm was tested using two arenas: the Morris water maze and open field test. The calculated measures were compared with those obtained manually. The internal consistency of the dataset was checked using Cronbach’s alpha. The accuracy of the results was evaluated using the paired samples t-test and Pearson correlation, with the level of statistical significance set at p<0.01. Results: A statistical comparison of the distances traveled, which were derived from the coordinates of successive locations, did not differ significantly between the manual and automatic methods (r=0.954 and p=0.792 for the Morris water maze; r=0.996 and p=0.024 for the open field test). Conclusions: These results suggest that the algorithm is reliable and valid for estimating coordinates and may serve as a high-resolution tool for animal behavior experiments. We intend to make this software freely available to interested readers and to open feedback channels for further development.

References

Desbonnet L, Garrett L, Daly E, Mcdermott KW, Dinan TG. Sexually dimorphic effects of maternal separation stress on corticotrophin-releasing factor and vasopressin systems in the adult rat brain. Int. J. Dev. Neurosci. 2008;26:259–268.

Morris RGM. Spatial localization does not require the presence of local cues. Learn Motiv 1981;12:239–261.

Packard MG, McGaugh JL. Double dissociation of fornix and caudate nucleus lesions on acquisition of two water maze tasks: further evidence for multiplememory systems. Behav Neurosci. 1992;106:439–46.

Rice D, Stan BJ. Critical periods of vulnerability for the developing nervous system: evidence from humans and animal models, Environ. Health Perspect. 2000;108:511–533.

Choleris E, Thomas AW, Kavaliers M, Prato FS. A detailed ethological analysis of the mouse open field test: effects of diazepam, chlordiazepoxide and an extremely low frequency pulsed magnetic field. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2001;25(3):235-60.

Noldus LP, Spink AJ, Tegelenbosch RA. Tegelenbosch EthoVision: A versatile video tracking system for automation of behavioral experiments. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 2001;33(3):398-414.

Noldus LP. The Observer: A software system for collection and analysis of observational data. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers1991;23:415-429.

Ide T. Laboratuar Hayvanlarında Temel İlkeler. Ankara: Medipress Matbaacılık; 2003.

Czaprowski D, Pawłowska P, Gębicka A, Sitarski D, Kotwicki T. Intra- and interobserver repeatability and reliability of the assessment of the anterio-posterior curvatures of the spine. Ortop Traumatol Rehabil 2012;14(2):145-154.

Aydın L, Şahin A, Kuloğlu BU, Koç B, Özden BS, Şahin MS, Rzayeva Z, Yazıcı AC, Erdem R. Çinko Takviyesinin Febril Konvulziyon ve Öğrenme–Bellek Üzerine Etkisi. 39. Ulusal Fizyoloji Kongresi, 10-14 Eylül 2013, Ankara,

Ulya Keskin. Sıçanlarda hareket kısıtlama stresinin torasik aortanın yapı ve işlevlerinde oluşturduğu glikasyon/lipoksidasyon-temelli değişiklikler üzerine doksisiklinin dozla ilişkili etkileri. Tez Danışmanı: Prof. Dr. Ş. Remzi Erdem, Ankara; 2014. Baskent University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Pharmacology, Thesis Prepared for the Speciality Degree in Medicine.

Nie Y, Tanaka A, Matsuda H, Ishii I. Automatic Scratching Analyzing System for Laboratory Mice: SCLABA-Real. INTECH Open Access Publisher. 2012.

http://www.noldus.com/events/mb98/abstracts/eijkenboom2.htm

Bland JM, Altman DG. Statistics notes: Cronbach's alpha. BMJ, 1997;314:572.

D'Hooge R. and De Deyn PP. Applications of the Morris water maze in the study of learning and memory. Brain Res Brain Res Rev, 2001;36(1):60-90.

Sharma S, Rakoczy S, Brown-Borg H. Assessment of spatial memory in mice. Life Sciences, 2010;87(17–18):521–36.

Wongwitdecha N, Marsden CA. Effects of social isolation rearing on learning in the Morris water maze. Brain Research, 1996;715(1–2):119–24.

Mendez IA, Montgomery KS, LaSarge CL, Simon NW, Bizon JL, Setlow B. Long-term effects of prior cocaine exposure on Morris water maze performance. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2008;89(2):185–91.

Madan CR and Spetch ML. Visualizing and quantifying movement from pre-recorded videos: The spectral time-lapse (STL) algorithm. F1000Research 2014, 3:19 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.3-19.v1)

Aguiar P, Mendonc L, Galhardo V. Open Control: A free opensource software for video tracking and automated control of behavioral mazes. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 166 (2007) 66–72.

Crispim CF, Pederiva CN, Bose RC, Garcia VA, Lino-de-Oliveira C, Marino-Neto J. ETHOWATCHER: Validation of a tool for behavioral and video-tracking analysis in laboratory animals. Computers in Biology and Medicine 42 (2012) 257–264.

Published
2020-03-10
Section
Original Research