1. To facilitate investigation of diverse rodent behaviours in rodents' home cages, we have developed an integrated modular platform, the SmartCage(™) system (AfaSci, Inc. Burlingame, CA, USA), which enables automated neurobehavioural phenotypic analysis and in vivo drug screening in a relatively higher-throughput and more objective manner. 2, The individual platform consists of an infrared array, a vibration floor sensor and a variety of modular devices. One computer can simultaneously operate up to 16 platforms via USB cables. 3. The SmartCage(™) detects drug-induced increases and decreases in activity levels, as well as changes in movement patterns. Wake and sleep states of mice can be detected using the vibration floor sensor. The arousal state classification achieved up to 98% accuracy compared with results obtained by electroencephalography and electromyography. More complex behaviours, including motor coordination, anxiety-related behaviours and social approach behaviour, can be assessed using appropriate modular devices and the results obtained are comparable with results obtained using conventional methods. 4. In conclusion, the SmartCage(™) system provides an automated and accurate tool to quantify various rodent behaviours in a 'stress-free' environment. This system, combined with the validated testing protocols, offers powerful a tool kit for transgenic phenotyping and in vivo drug screening.
© 2012 The Authors. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.