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Effects of light and dark phase testing on the investigation of behavioural paradigms in mice: Relevance for behavioural neuroscience


Richetto, Juliet; Polesel, Marcello; Weber-Stadlbauer, Ulrike (2019). Effects of light and dark phase testing on the investigation of behavioural paradigms in mice: Relevance for behavioural neuroscience. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 178:19-29.

Abstract

Different timing and light phases are critical factors in behavioural neuroscience, which can greatly affect the experimental outcomes of the performed tests. Despite the fact that time of testing is one of the most common factors that varies across behavioural laboratories, knowledge about the consequences of testing time on behavioural readouts is limited. Thus, in this study we systematically assessed the effect of this factor on the readout of a variety of elementary and recurrent behavioural paradigms in C57Bl/6 mice. Furthermore, we investigated potential neuronal correlates of this phenomenon by analysing how testing time influences the expression pattern of genes relevant for neuronal activation functions and the control of brain circadian rhythms. We show that animals tested in the light phase display reduced social approach behaviour and sensorimotor gating and increased locomotor activity, whereas anxiety-related behaviour and working memory are not affected. In addition, animals tested in the light phase also exhibit increased locomotor response to systemic amphetamine treatment, which is paralleled by alterations in the expression patterns of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter (DAT) in the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) and/or Midbrain (Mid). Lastly, we observed that neuronal activation, indexed by the gene expression levels of cFos, was increased in the NAc and Mid of animals tested during the light phase. Our data thus suggest that daily alterations in gene expression in mesolimbic brain structures might be involved in the different behavioural responses of mice tested in the light- versus the dark-phase. At the same time, our study adds further weight to the notion that the specific timing of testing can indeed strongly affect the readout of a given test. As comparison and reproducibility of findings is pivotal in science, experimental protocols should be clarified in detail to allow appropriate data comparison across different laboratories.

Abstract

Different timing and light phases are critical factors in behavioural neuroscience, which can greatly affect the experimental outcomes of the performed tests. Despite the fact that time of testing is one of the most common factors that varies across behavioural laboratories, knowledge about the consequences of testing time on behavioural readouts is limited. Thus, in this study we systematically assessed the effect of this factor on the readout of a variety of elementary and recurrent behavioural paradigms in C57Bl/6 mice. Furthermore, we investigated potential neuronal correlates of this phenomenon by analysing how testing time influences the expression pattern of genes relevant for neuronal activation functions and the control of brain circadian rhythms. We show that animals tested in the light phase display reduced social approach behaviour and sensorimotor gating and increased locomotor activity, whereas anxiety-related behaviour and working memory are not affected. In addition, animals tested in the light phase also exhibit increased locomotor response to systemic amphetamine treatment, which is paralleled by alterations in the expression patterns of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter (DAT) in the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) and/or Midbrain (Mid). Lastly, we observed that neuronal activation, indexed by the gene expression levels of cFos, was increased in the NAc and Mid of animals tested during the light phase. Our data thus suggest that daily alterations in gene expression in mesolimbic brain structures might be involved in the different behavioural responses of mice tested in the light- versus the dark-phase. At the same time, our study adds further weight to the notion that the specific timing of testing can indeed strongly affect the readout of a given test. As comparison and reproducibility of findings is pivotal in science, experimental protocols should be clarified in detail to allow appropriate data comparison across different laboratories.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Behavioural neuroscience, Daily rhythm, Testing time, cFos
Language:English
Date:1 March 2019
Deposited On:25 Jul 2018 15:06
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:29
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0091-3057
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2018.05.011
PubMed ID:29782942

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