A Low-Cost, Reliable, High-Throughput System for Rodent Behavioral Phenotyping in a Home Cage Environment

Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:2392-5. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346445.


Inexpensive, high-throughput, low maintenance systems for precise temporal and spatial measurement of mouse home cage behavior (including movement, feeding, and drinking) are required to evaluate products from large scale pharmaceutical design and genetic lesion programs. These measurements are also required to interpret results from more focused behavioral assays. We describe the design and validation of a highly-scalable, reliable mouse home cage behavioral monitoring system modeled on a previously described, one-of-a-kind system. Mouse position was determined by solving static equilibrium equations describing the force and torques acting on the system strain gauges; feeding events were detected by a photobeam across the food hopper, and drinking events were detected by a capacitive lick sensor. Validation studies show excellent agreement between mouse position and drinking events measured by the system compared with video-based observation--a gold standard in neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / instrumentation*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Mice
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Photometry / instrumentation*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*