Behavioral PlateForm

Our behavioral platform at the animal facility Prebios is the backbone of the research
studies in our laboratory and is daily used by all teams. Our activities are centered on
multiple behavioral tests to assess motor impairment, cognitive functions and addiction.

A. Motor functions

• The staircase test (Phymep) measures fine motor skills of the forelimb reaching in
mice. In 2013, 10 apparatus  were acquired thanks to ANR funds. They are
composed of a Plexiglas box with a removable double staircase; food pellets are placed
on each step of the staircase. The number of sucrose pellet collected with the forepaw
affected or not by the lesion and/or the transplantation is recorded in order to provide
measures of side bias. To assure a high precision measurement, the laboratory
purchased with CPER funds 8 mini-cameras placed on each side of
the staircase device to enable us to precisely plot reaching movement trajectory of
• The GaitLab system (ViewPoint) is an automated quantitative gait analysis system
allowing evaluation of various locomotor defects such as those occurring following
cortical brain injury or Parkinson’ disease models. The animal traverses a glass plate
and its footprints are captured.

The apparatus automatically analysis each animal footprint and the Gait Lab

software classifies them depending on the field of interest.
Thus, independently for each paw, it is possible to quantitatively measure the speed,
regularity or length of the locomotion. This equipment has been acquired in 2012 on
FEDER funds.



• The Rota-Count-8 (Columbus Instruments; Phymep) was purchased in 2004 thanks to
Fondation France Parkinson funds. It assesses the drug-induced rotation
behavior in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, loss of dopaminergic
neurons following unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion leads to rotatory movements
following dopamine agonist injection. In order to quantify this turning behavior, a
rotation counter is used as an index of dopaminergic depletion. Mice are placed in a
body harness connected to a swivel in a bowl-shaped testing arena and a monitoring
system records turning motion.


• Rota-rod Counter 3253 (Imetronic) measures motor coordination in motor
impairment mice models using a rotometer system. This device was purchased in 2002
and financed by Fondation de Recherche Médicale. Mice are placed on a
rotating rod and parameters such as endurance, motor learning, balance or motor
coordination can be assessed through the riding time.
• Locomotor activity chambers (Imetronic) consists of 8 individual chambers
financed by Fondation de Recherche Médicale (2003) funds. This equipment
allows the quantification of spontaneous horizontal and vertical locomotion and also drug

induced locomotor activity including following behavioral sensitization to drugs
of abuse and in animal models of autism.
• Motor activity wheels (Imetronic) are used to measure voluntary wheel
locomotor activity in rat. Our laboratory purchased 12 activity wheels in 2013-2014
with a co-funding INSERM-Region. All wheels are linked to an electronic interface that
provides the formatting of signals from infrared sensors and allows communication
with the computer.


B. Addiction and cognitive related behaviors

• Operant Chambers : The laboratory has a total of 82 operant chambers to investigate
drug self-administration (ex. cocaine, heroin, nicotine, methamphetamine), and
cognitive behaviors in a variety of procedures such as delay discounting or attentional
set-shifting task. Twelve of those (Coulbourn/Bilaney Consultants)

were a donation from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
and were further equipped financed from FEDER funds in
2007. Twelve more (Imetronic) were purchase in 2007 on CPER funds

and another twelve (Med Associates) were purchased in 2012 on CPER funds

The last forty-six cages were purchase in 2012 with INSERM
Avenir and FEDER funds. This equipment is mainly used by Team 2.


• Additional cognitive measurements: The laboratory has purchased several
equipment during these last years aimed at investigating anxiety, learning, or memory
behavior in rodent. For example, we have build on site several three chambers test to
assess social interactions and social memory, an elevated plus maze and acquired an
open filed apparatus to reveal anxiety. These devices are mainly used by the teams 2
and 3 (M. SOLINAS and M. JABER).


• Two Videotrack systems (ViewPoint) for rats and mice, coupled each to a PC and
dedicated software for analysis of behavior were recently purchased with CPER and
recurrent Inserm funding for a total of 10 k€. These devices are modular and can be
used for the measurement of a wide variety of behavior such as exploration, locomotor,
anxiety or conditioned place preference.
• Conditioned Place Preference cages (Imetronic) were acquired in 2004
(MILDT funding). They are used to evaluate in mice appetitive effect of drugs of abuse.
The conditioned place preference occurs when, through Pavlovian conditioning, an
animal learns to prefer one compartment to another because repeated pairing with
rewarding stimuli. This equipment is a very common preclinical behavioral model used
to study the rewarding effects of drugs. Importantly the system can also be used to
investigate the aversive effects of a stimulus such as withdrawal from drugs.
• Enriched environment ages: An important part of the research project of team 2 is
focused on the investigation of the positive effects of environmental enrichment on
model of addictions. Thus, the laboratory acquired various enrichment cages for both
mice and rats that combined novelty or social stimulations.


C. Stereotaxic and surgical devices

• Motorized stereotaxic frame (StereoDrive, Neurostar): A significant part of the
research activities of team 1 is based on the use of lesions and transplantation models.
This equipment consists of a drill and a microinjection robot coupled with atlas
integration, a computer control and a stereotaxic frame (Kopf) that ensure extreme
precision and reproducibility of results. This equipment was acquired in 2015

and was paid by Inserm recurrent funding and a Region co-funding.


Cortical impactor (PinPoint PCI3000): This equipment was acquired in 2015
thanks to a CPER funding. This precision cortical impactor is used to replicate traumatic
brain and spinal cord injuries in animal models. The target velocity of the impacting tip is
electronically monitored and the device, combined with a stereotaxic frame (Kopf), allows
control precision and reproducible results.
Stereomicroscopes: In order to facilitate both the stereotaxic and the embryos dissection
procedures we dispose of several stereomicroscopes mainly used by Team 1.
– Stereomicroscope Stemi 305 Zeiss (purchased in 2015; University fund)
– Stereomicroscope Stemi 2000-C Zeiss (purchased in 2013; on FEDER funds)
– Fluorescence stereomicroscope Nikon SMZ 1500 (purchased in 2006 ; Region cofunding).


Laminar flow hood (Techniplast) In order to ensure stereotaxic injection of virus or
human cells on safety configuration, we purchased this hood in 2015 on INSERM