Our Fear-Shuttle apparatus plays both roles of a Shuttle-Box and a double Fear conditioning apparatus. Moreover, everything has been facilitated to couple behavior analyses with optogenetics and electrophysiology.
FEAR – SHUTTLE
We developed an apparatus that may be used either as a Shuttle Box or as a double Fear conditioning chamber.
The aparatus, initially designed for mice, is composed of:
a farradized, soundproof and ventilated wooden cubicle, mounted on a mobile aluminum trolley
a cabled grid, two drawers
2 square compartments (20x20cm)
an automated door, shutting from below the floor
independent houselights above each compartment
a tight infrared beams frame to measure every Freezing behavior, the locomotor activity and rearings
a scrambled electric shock generator and a shocker (0.1-2mA)
a sound generator: pure tones (1-20kHz), white noise, WAV files played from PC, 55-90dB
We propose several options to facilitate the coupling of the behavior analysis and external techniques such as electrophysiology and optogenetics:
a cable guide to allow cables and fibers to follow smoothly the animal from one compartment to the other
a synchronization kit to sign every behavioral event on your electrophysiological traces
a high-frequency TTL generator (up to 500Hz) that may activate a laser according the behavioral outputs of the animal
The Fear-Shuttle for Rat has been developped on the same principle as the Fear-Shuttle for mice, only dimensions change.
Two different acquisition softwares can manage Avoidance or Fear conditioning experiments:
POLY FEAR is set to conduct experiments on the 2 compartments simultaneously.
POLY AVOIDANCE manages the acitve and passive avoidance experiments
POLY Files softwares analyzes the data acquired from POLY FEAR and POLY AVOIDANCE. A great number of variables may be calculated, e.g.:
number of Freezing, series of the durations of Freezing, kietics of Freezing
locomotor activity and rearings (number of beam breaks, number of rearings, kinetics of locomotor activity and rearings, distance travelled, path travelled)
duration of Freezing center on an event (sound or shock emission)
Additionally to these variables, some are specific to the avoidance:
number of avoidances, escapes, errors
sequence of behavioral outputs
series the time to avoid and time to escape
number of entries and time spent in each compartment
POLY Files software is open, so that any user may create his own variables. However, all the variables detailed above are provided at the installation.
The results are displayed in a .xls datasheet file.