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Sub-processes of motor learning revealed by a robotic manipulandum for rodents


Lambercy, O; Schubring-Giese, M; Vigaru, B; Gassert, R; Luft, A R; Hosp, J A (2015). Sub-processes of motor learning revealed by a robotic manipulandum for rodents. Behavioural Brain Research, 278:569-576.

Abstract

Rodent models are widely used to investigate neural changes in response to motor learning. Usually, the behavioral readout of motor learning tasks used for this purpose is restricted to a binary measure of performance (i.e. "successful" movement vs. "failure"). Thus, the assignability of research in rodents to concepts gained in human research - implying diverse internal models that constitute motor learning - is still limited. To solve this problem, we recently introduced a three-degree-of-freedom robotic platform designed for rats (the ETH-Pattus) that combines an accurate behavioral readout (in the form of kinematics) with the possibility to invasively assess learning related changes within the brain (e.g. by performing immunohistochemistry or electrophysiology in acute slice preparations). Here, we validate this platform as a tool to study motor learning by establishing two forelimb-reaching paradigms that differ in degree of skill. Both conditions can be precisely differentiated in terms of their temporal pattern and performance levels. Based on behavioral data, we hypothesize the presence of several sub-processes contributing to motor learning. These share close similarities with concepts gained in humans or primates.

Abstract

Rodent models are widely used to investigate neural changes in response to motor learning. Usually, the behavioral readout of motor learning tasks used for this purpose is restricted to a binary measure of performance (i.e. "successful" movement vs. "failure"). Thus, the assignability of research in rodents to concepts gained in human research - implying diverse internal models that constitute motor learning - is still limited. To solve this problem, we recently introduced a three-degree-of-freedom robotic platform designed for rats (the ETH-Pattus) that combines an accurate behavioral readout (in the form of kinematics) with the possibility to invasively assess learning related changes within the brain (e.g. by performing immunohistochemistry or electrophysiology in acute slice preparations). Here, we validate this platform as a tool to study motor learning by establishing two forelimb-reaching paradigms that differ in degree of skill. Both conditions can be precisely differentiated in terms of their temporal pattern and performance levels. Based on behavioral data, we hypothesize the presence of several sub-processes contributing to motor learning. These share close similarities with concepts gained in humans or primates.

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5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1 February 2015
Deposited On:08 Dec 2015 16:08
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:35
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0166-4328
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.10.047
PubMed ID:25446755

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