Automated assessment of Pavlovian conditioned freezing and shock reactivity in mice using the VideoFreeze system

Stephan G. Anagnostaras, Suzanne C. Wood, Tristan Shuman, Denise J. Cai, Arthur D. LeDuc, Karl R. Zurn, J. Brooks Zurn, Jennifer R. Sage, Gerald M. Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Pavlovian conditioned freezing paradigm has become a prominent mouse and rat model of learning and memory, as well as of pathological fear. Due to its efficiency, reproducibility and well-defined neurobiology, the paradigm has become widely adopted in large-scale genetic and pharmacological screens. However, one major shortcoming of the use of freezing behavior has been that it has required the use of tedious hand scoring, or a variety of proprietary automated methods that are often poorly validated or difficult to obtain and implement. Here we report an extensive validation of the Video Freeze system in mice, a "turn-key" all-inclusive system for fear conditioning in small animals. Using digital video and near-infrared lighting, the system achieved outstanding performance in scoring both freezing and movement. Given the largescale adoption of the conditioned freezing paradigm, we encourage similar validation of other automated systems for scoring freezing, or other behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Volume4
Issue numberSEP
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Anxiety
  • Classical conditioning
  • Fear
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory
  • Phenotyping

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