The service is a state-of-the art facility designed to serve as a time-efficient and cost-effective service for researchers and pharmaceutical industry in need of behavioral and neuropharmacological analyses in small rodents. This service is offered in collaboration with the Animal services.
We will provide expertise in all aspects related to the consultation:
The service is equipped to accommodate a full battery of behavioral tests relevant to learning and memory, sensory abilities, motor function, nociception, and anxiety-related behaviors. We are specialized in genetic and pharmacological phenotyping in both mouse and rat. In addition, the core facility provides expertise in an array of experimental models of nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Charcot -Marie-Tooth disease, cerebellar ataxia , muscular dystrophy, neuropsychiatric disorders, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, as well as neuropathic pain, peripheral nerve and spinal cord lesions.
The available tests include a standardized battery, based on a highly validated behavioral methodology.
Additional tests may be available upon request.
Modified SHIRPA test
This screen is useful in determining specific neurological disorders in genetically modified mice and helps in interpreting results of behavioral testing. Modified SHIRPA is a very basic behavioral battery that includes measuring muscle, cerebellar, sensory, neuropsychiatric and autonomic functions.
This test measures the nociceptive responses of animals when they are placed on a warmed metal plate. This test is commonly used for pain sensitivity assessment in rodents as well as evaluation of analgesic drugs.
This test is used for measurement of hyperalgesia to thermal stimulation in rodents. The Plantar Test enables the researcher to discern a peripherally mediated response to thermal stimulation, pain transmission and sensitivity to analgesic drug treatments.
Dynamic plantar test
This test is used to measure tactile sensation and analgesia-related responses. The dynamic plantar test allow researcher to assess the time courses of allodynia in rodent models of neuropathic pain (spinal cord injury, nerve injury, arthritic pain…), identification of mechanisms responsible for pain development and testing the efficacies of different analgesics.
This grip dynamometer provides quantitative measurements of muscle strength and endurance in the rodents. This test is the most commonly used in vivo test for monitoring impaired muscle weakness in animal model for lower motor neuron disease and can be used as an assay for quantification the effects of in vivo drug treatments on murine neuromuscular disorders.
Limb-use asymmetry (cylinder) test
The asymmetry test is used to evaluate motor deficits (akinesia) induced by unilateral lesions of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway, the sensorimotor cortex and focal ischemia. It is also used to evaluate the recovery of motor function by grafted dopamine neurons.
Beam walking test
The balance beam assesses animal’s ability to maintain balance while traversing a narrow beam to reach a safe Platform. The beam-walking test is used to evaluate fine motor coordination and proprioceptive function, requiring accurate paw placement.
Vertical pole test
The pole test is used to assess fine motor function. The pole walking is a very sensitive test for evaluating the sensory–motor coordination of the forelimb and hindlimbs and the descending motor control of the limb motor pathways. This test is very sensitive to unilateral lesions, such as hemisections.
Suspended bar test
The suspended bar test measures both limb strength and motor coordination. This test measures which times a mouse climbing from a hanging position on the base of the coat hanger to the uppermost point of the central vertical handle at the top.
This test measures the fore- and hindlimb motor coordination and the ability of an animal to maintain balance on a rotating rod. This task requires a variety of proprioceptive, vestibular and fine-tuned motor abilities. The rotarod was specifically designed for making automated measurements of neurological deficits in rodents, and is one of the most commonly used tests of motor function in mice.
Walking tracks pattern
The gait analysis during locomotion can be informative. Normal mice have a regular, alternating gait. Variation from this pattern can indicate ataxia or morphological defect that causes an abnormal gait. Animal footprints were used to estimate foot opening angle and hindbase width, which reflects the extent of muscle loosening.
Gait pattern (Functional Sciatic Index)
Neurological function and recovery from central and peripheral nervous system injuries can be assessed by several methods, one of which is analysis of hindlimb plantar gait. The Sciatic Functional index (SFI) is commonly used as a tool for the evaluation of the functional recovery of sciatic nerve injury.
Basso Mouse Scale for locomotion
The Basso Mouse Scale (BMS) is a validated scale used to monitor the progress of hind-limb functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI). The BMS score is proportional to injury severity and is used extensively to examine molecular responses to spinal cord injury in genetically engineered mice and for monitoring the effects of novel interventional therapies.
Open Field test
The test provides a unique opportunity to systematically assess novel environment exploration, general locomotor activity, and provide an initial screen for anxiety-related behavior in rodents. The open-field test is based on the natural tendency of animals to explore and avoidance reaction to protect themselves, which make normal animals to spend more time in the corners and the periphery than in the center.
The light/dark (LD) test is a commonly used rodent test of unconditioned anxiety-like behavior that is based on an approach/avoidance conflict between the drive to explore novel areas and an aversion to brightly lit, open spaces. This test is based on the natural tendency of rodents to prefer a dark environment and allows to evaluate emotional responses of animals in a highly illuminated situation.
Elevated plus maze
The elevated plus maze test is used to evaluate anxiety for height and emotional memory. In this situation, animals are confronted to a choice between threatening environment, an exposed runway elevated from the floor, and relatively safe enclosure. The elevated plus maze is presently the most widely used behavioral assay for rodents and it has been validated to assess the anti-anxiety effects of pharmacological agents and to define brain regions and mechanisms underlying anxiety-related behavior.
The Forced-swimming test is used to evaluate the depression-relevant state in rodents. Rodents forced to swim in an aversive and confined environment innately fight to escape the apparatus. Following failed attempts to escape, they become immobile (i.e. float), a behavior generally considered as despair, “depressive-like” behavior. This simple behavioral procedure has since become a suitable to study the depressive state and for the primary screening of antidepressant drugs.
Morris water maze
The Morris water maze (MWM) is the most widely used device to investigate spatial learning and memory in rodents. The pool filled with opaque water should be positioned in a room with a sufficient amount of external cues visible to the swimming animal. The MWM task has often been used in the validation of rodent models for neurocognitive disorders and the evaluation of possible neurocognitive treatments during aging.
The T-water maze test is typically used to examine perseverative behavior in rodents and for the investigation of spatial learning and memory deficits in conventional reversal learning assays. The T- maze procedure has been used in the validation of animal models of neurodegenerative disease, neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Novel Object recognition test
The novel object recognition task (NORT) is considered as test for evaluating working memory in rodents. It is based on the spontaneous exploration of novel and familiar objects. Naive animals will spend more time exploring a novel object than a familiar one. Recognition memory refers to the ability to judge a previously encountered item as familiar and depends on the integrity of the medial temporal lobe.
Passive avoidance task
The Passive Avoidance task is a fear-aggravated test used to evaluate learning and memory in rodent models of CNS disorders. In this test, subjects learn to avoid an environment in which an aversive stimulus (such as a foot-shock) was previously delivered and evaluates the long-term memory of animals. The Passive Avoidance task depends on hippocampal function and is useful for evaluating the effect of novel therapies on learning and memory as well as studying the mechanisms involved in cognition.
The spontaneous alternation test estimates the willingness to explore novel stimuli, or to avoid familiar stimuli. This test is used to quantify behavioural disinhibition or a loss in short-term memory in transgenic strains of mice and evaluate novel chemical entities for their effects on cognition. The exploration of novel environmental stimuli is dependent on the integrity of limbic and non-limbic pathways, including the basal forebrain, the hippocampus, the thalamus, the prefrontal cortex, and the dorsal striatum, as well as the vestibular system and cerebellum.
The three-chamber paradigm test and preference for social novelty protocol has been successfully employed to study social affiliation and social memory in several inbred and mutant mouse lines. This test allows evaluation of impaired sociability and abnormal social behavior for many psychiatric disorders (for example, autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia). Moreover, this test is applicable for assessing potential effects of pharmacological compounds on social psychopathologies.
Nest building skills
The ability of rodents to build the nest is used as a measure of home-cage activity related to normal social behavior. This is a simple, cheap and easily done test that is a sensitive assay for identifying abnormal behavioral phenotypes. Nesting has been shown to be sensitive to brain lesions, pharmacological agents and genetic mutations.
Researchers who are interested in developing a project in collaboration with the service are encouraged to contact the scientist in charge to discuss project objectives and the appropriate procedure to achieve the behavioral assays that allow addressing specific scientific hypotheses.
All behavioral testing procedures are made in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC). Each project within the service must be approved by the ethics committee for animal experiments at the research center du CHU de Québec.
Users must mention in their publications, the use of our services in the acknowledgments. The names of each member of the service, who makes a substantial contribution to the proposed project, must be listed as co-author in scientific publications.
Functional Analysis of Animal Behavior Service
CHU de Québec Research Center (CHUL)
2705 boulevard Laurier
Québec (Qc), G1V 4G2
Tel. (418) 525-4444, ext 46452
Julia Hernandez-Rapp; Pascal Y Smith; Mohammed Filali; Claudia Goupil; Emmanuel Planel; Stephen T Magill; Richard H Goodman; Sebastien S. Hebert. Memory formation and retention are affected in adult miR-132/212 knockout mice. Accepted in Behavioural Brain Research
Filali M, Lalonde R, Gérard C, Coulombe Z, Tremblay JP. Sensorimotor skills in Fxn KO/Mck mutants deficient for frataxin in muscle. Brain Res. 2015 Mar 9. pii: S0006-8993(15)00182-1.
Audoy-Rémus J, Bozoyan L, Dumas A, Filali M, Lecours C, Lacroix S, Rivest S, Tremblay ME, Vallières L. GPR84 deficiency reduces microgliosis, but accelerates dendritic degeneration and cognitive decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Jan 28. pii: S0889-1591(15)00013-6.
Catherine Gérard, Xiao Xiao, Mohammed Filali, Zoé Coulombe, Marie Arsenault, Jacques Couet, Juan Li, Marie-Claude Drolet, Pierre Chapdelaine, Amina Chikh, Jacques P Tremblay. An AAV9 coding for frataxin clearly improved the symptoms and prolonged the life of Friedreich ataxia mouse models. Molecular Therapy—Methods & Clinical Development, 2014; 1, 14044.
De Giorgio MR, Yoshioka M, Riedl I, Moreault O, Cherizol RG, Shah AA, Blin N, Richard D, St-Amand J. Trefoil factor family member 2 (Tff2) KO mice are protected from high-fat diet-induced obesity. Obesity. 2013 Jul;21(7):1389-95.
Pimentel-Coelho PM, Michaud JP, Rivest S. Effects of mild chronic cerebral hypoperfusion and early amyloid pathology on spatial learning and the cellular innate immune response in mice. Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Mar;34(3):679-93.
Michaud JP, Hallé M, Lampron A, Thériault P, Préfontaine P, Filali M, Tribout-Jover P, Lanteigne AM, Jodoin R, Cluff C, Brichard V, Palmantier R, Pilorget A, Larocque D, Rivest S. Toll-like receptor 4 stimulation with the detoxified ligand monophosphoryl lipid A improves Alzheimer's disease-related pathology. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 29;110(5):1941-6.
Naert G, Rivest S. Age-related changes in synaptic markers and monocyte subsets link the cognitive decline of APP(Swe)/PS1 mice. Front Cell Neurosci. 2012 Nov 1;6:51.
Filali M, Lalonde R, Theriault P, Julien C, Calon F, Planel E. Cognitive and non-cognitive behaviors in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease expressing mutated APP, PS1, and Mapt (3xTg-AD). Behav Brain Res. 2012 Oct 1;234(2):334-42.
Michaud JP, Richard KL, Rivest S. Hematopoietic MyD88-adaptor protein acts as a natural defense mechanism for cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease. Stem Cell Rev. 2012 Sep;8(3):898-904.
Drouin-Ouellet J, LeBel M, Filali M, Cicchetti F. MyD88 deficiency results in both cognitive and motor impairments in mice. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Aug;26(6):880-5.
Naert G, Rivest S. Hematopoietic CC-chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) competent cells are protective for the cognitive impairments and amyloid pathology in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Mol Med. 2012 Mar 30;18:297-313.
Filali M, Lalonde R, Rivest S. Sensorimotor and cognitive functions in a SOD1(G37R) transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Behav Brain Res. 2011 Nov 20;225(1):215-21.
Filali M, Lalonde R, Rivest S. Anomalies in social behaviors and exploratory activities in an APPswe/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Physiol Behav. 2011 Oct 24;104(5):880-5.
Nadeau S, Filali M, Zhang J, Kerr BJ, Rivest S, Soulet D, Iwakura Y, de Rivero Vaccari JP, Keane RW, Lacroix S. Functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury is dependent on the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF: implications for neuropathic pain. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 31;31(35):12533-42.
Filali M, Dequen F, Lalonde R, Julien JP. Sensorimotor and cognitive function of a NEFL(P22S) mutant model of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2E. Behav Brain Res. 2011 Jun 1;219(2):175-80.
Filali M, Lalonde R, Rivest S. Subchronic memantine administration on spatial learning, exploratory activity, and nest-building in an APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Neuropharmacology. 2011 May;60(6):930-6.
Naert G, Rivest S. CC chemokine receptor 2 deficiency aggravates cognitive impairments and amyloid pathology in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 20;31(16):6208-20.
Michaud JP, Richard KL, Rivest S. MyD88-adaptor protein acts as a preventive mechanism for memory deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Mol Neurodegener. 2011 Jan 14;6(1):5.
Dequen F, Filali M, Larivière RC, Perrot R, Hisanaga S, Julien JP. Reversal of neuropathy phenotypes in conditional mouse model of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2E. Hum Mol Genet. 2010 Jul 1;19(13):2616-29.
Boissonneault V, Rivest S. [The hematopoietic cytokine M-CSF as a cure for Alzheimer's disease]. Med Sci (Paris). 2009 Aug-Sep;25(8-9):666-8.
Boissonneault V, Filali M, Lessard M, Relton J, Wong G, Rivest S. Powerful beneficial effects of macrophage colony-stimulating factor on beta-amyloid deposition and cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease. Brain. 2009 Apr;132(Pt 4):1078-92.
Filali M, Lalonde R, Rivest S. Cognitive and non-cognitive behaviors in an APPswe/PS1 bigenic model of Alzheimer's disease. Genes Brain Behav. 2009 Mar;8(2):143-8.
Barrette B, Hébert MA, Filali M, Lafortune K, Vallières N, Gowing G, Julien JP, Lacroix S. Requirement of myeloid cells for axon regeneration. J Neurosci. 2008 Sep 17;28(38):9363-76.
Richard KL, Filali M, Préfontaine P, Rivest S. Toll-like receptor 2 acts as a natural innate immune receptor to clear amyloid beta 1-42 and delay the cognitive decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. J Neurosci. 2008 May 28;28(22):5784-93.
Kang J, Rivest S. MyD88-deficient bone marrow cells accelerate onset and reduce survival in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Cell Biol. 2007 Dec 17;179(6):1219-30.
Boivin A, Pineau I, Barrette B, Filali M, Vallières N, Rivest S, Lacroix S. Toll-like receptor signaling is critical for Wallerian degeneration and functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury. J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 14;27(46):12565-76.