The StartFear Combined system is a polyvalent system for conducting both fear conditioning and startle reflex experiments in one same enclosure, regardless the animal is a rat or a mouse (from 15grs to 300 grs. or more depending on the use or not of a restrainer).
Basically, the StartFear system allows recording and analysis of the signal generated by the animal movement through a high sensitivity Weight Transducer system.
The analogical signal is transmitted to the FREEZING and STARTLE software modules through the load cell unit for recording purposes and posterior analysis in terms of activity/immobility (FREEZING) or startle response characterization (STARTLE).
An additional interface associated with corresponding hardware allows controlling the stimuli (light, sounds, shock, air puff) from the STARTLE and FREEZING modules of the PACKWIN software (PACKWINCSST and PACKWINCSFR, respectively).
The StartFear cage is made with black methacrylate walls and a transparent front door. In fear conditioning experiment, the walls, cover and floor can be of different materials or colours. Moreover, a transparent cylinder can be placed into the experimental chamber in order to modify the contextual spatial perception of the subject during the test phase.
Prepulse Inhibition (PPI) paradigm is commonly used to evaluate sensorimotor gating as well as attentional processes involved in information selection processing.
The 5-choice serial reaction time (5CSRT) task is commonly used to evaluate attention performance using visual discrimination in laboratory animals. It represents a conditioning paradigm, involving intact attention processes.
The 5/9 holes box is commonly used to evaluate attention performance using a visual discrimination task in laboratory animals.
The Panlab 5/9 holes box is composed by a test chamber, food or drink dispenser, a Link Box to connect it to the PC and the PackWin software. The particularity of the Panlab box is that 9 holes positions are available for the test providing an higher protocol flexibility: different number of holes used, different degrees of test difficulty.
The 5/9 holes box is assembled with black aluminium walls and a transparent front door. The box is equipped with an arc of 9 contiguous apertures set into the rear wall, a house light, a food pellet dispenser and photobeams to detect the nose-pokes into the food holder. The holes not used in the experiment may be blocked up using a metal insert. Each hole is equipped with photocell beams and internal LED providing visual cues specific to each hole. The intensity of the LED can be adjusted in Link Box using the digital selector. The box is placed on a stainless-steel platform and the associated tray is easily removable to clean animal excrements.
All Panlab five hole boxes are associated with the potent and versatile PackWin software in order to control the experiment (protocol configuration, experiment running) and obtain relevant data such as correct responses, incorrect responses, omissions, premature responses, perseverance responses, time out responses, total receptacle head entries, etc.
Different experimental paradigms for sustained attention, animal models of impulsive behaviour and lateralized-discrimination task can be conducted using the nine-hole box.
The 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRT task) is a task currently used in this kind of boxes. A specific Packwin software module is available for ready-to-use configurations, Run panel and Data reports directly targeted to 5-choice serial reaction tasks.