Novel, whisker-dependent texture discrimination task for mice

Behav Brain Res. 2013 Jan 15;237:238-42. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.09.044. Epub 2012 Sep 28.


Many mammals use their mystacial vibrissae to palpate objects in their environment and encode information such as size, shape and texture. We have developed a novel method to assess the sensitivity with which mice can discriminate textures using their mystacial vibrissae. Our texture discrimination task can be performed within 3 days, requiring approximately 1 h of handling time, per subject, over the entire testing period. No appetitive or aversive training is required. We have demonstrated that this novel texture discrimination task is dependent on intact mystacial vibrissae and can be performed by both young (2-month old) and older (6-month old) C57BL/6 mice. The parameters of the task can be adjusted to assess the sensitivity of mice using a gradient of textures with different roughness. We have developed a novel, efficient method to assess whisker-mediated texture discrimination in mice.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Food Deprivation
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Time Factors
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Vibrissae / innervation*
  • Water Deprivation