Elevated-plus maze test

Description
Related Panlab Integrated Solutions

Description

The standard elevated plus-maze test is commonly used to assess anxiety-like behavior in laboratory animals (rats/mice).

The test that is based on two conflicting innate tendencies: exploring a novel environment and avoiding elevated and open spaces constituting situations of predator risk.

The apparatus consists of two open (stressful) and two enclosed (protecting) elevated arms that form a “plus” or cross. Security is provided by the closed arms whereas the open arms offer exploratory value. When anxious, the natural tendency of rodents is to prefer closed dark spaces to opened brightly lit spaces. In this context, anxiety-related behavior is measured by the degree to which the rodent avoids the closed arms of the maze. 

Time spent in exploring enclosed versus open arms indicates then the anxiety level of the animal. When placed into this apparatus, naïve mice and rats will, by nature, tend to explore less the open arms due its natural fear of heights and open spaces.

Experimental procedure

In practice, the test consists in placing the subjects individually in the centre of the apparatus facing the open arm and allow to explore the maze freely for 5 min.

Please find bellow a list of standard parameters recorded in this test and related meaning for data interpretation.

Registered data

Data meaning

Number of entries into the zones

Total number of entries in closed arms = activity index

Number of entries into open arms = anxiety index

% number of entries into the zones respect to the total number of entries

% number of entries into open arms = anxiety index

Permanence time in the zone

Time spent in open arms = anxiety index

% of permanence time in the zone respect to the total duration of the experiment

% of time in open arms = anxiety index

Distance covered by the subject

Quantitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Time spent in immobility

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Time spent moving slowly

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Tine spent moving fast

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

% of time spent immobile respect to the total duration of the experiment

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

% of time spent moving slowly respect to the total duration of the experiment

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

% of time spent moving fast respect to the total duration of the experiment

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Mean speed of subject displacement = distance covered divided by unit of time (including periods in which the subject is immobile)

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Mean speed of subject displacement = distance covered divided by unit of time (only consider subject displacements; excluding periods immobility)

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Maximal speed reach by the subject

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Minimal speed reach by the subject

Qualitative evaluation of locomotor activity

Number of occurrence of the Rearing

Registering of exploration behavior (rearing) or any other user-defined behavior

Total duration of the registered rearing

Registering of exploration behavior (rearing) or any other user-defined behavior

 The data can be recorded manually or using automated system such as video-tracking system or photobeams systems.

 

 

Related Panlab Integrated Solutions


ELEVATED PLUS MAZE – SMART VIDEO TRACKING (Panlab)


 

Reasons for choosing this test

  • Exploration-based conflict task
  • Based on innate behavioral tendencies (ethological test)
  • Open elevated arm versus closed arm choice
  • Simple to set up and use
  • Short-lasting experiment (no more than 5-10 min)
  • Widely used in literature
  • Sensitive for both rats and mice

Reasons for not choosing this test

  • Repeated exposition induces habituation
  • Influenced by a host of variables
  • Needs intact locomotor performances
  • Difficult to dissociate impaired locomotor activity from anxiety-induced suppression of exploration

 

 
 
 
 
We use own and third-party cookies to improve our services and to show ads related to your preferences by analyzing your browsing habits. If you continue browsing, we will consider that you allow us to use them. You can change the settings or get more information on our Cookies Policy.
More information