Fear conditioning

Fear conditioning and other learning tasks in rodents are typical in a wide range of neuropharmacological studies, amongst others. A typical reaction to the expectation of an aversive stimulus or situation in rodents is a behavior described as freezing.

Video tracking and fear conditioning

So why would you use EthoVision XT in your fear conditioning tasks? Well, first of all, because EthoVision XT is excellent at detecting freezing. Second, the integrated analysis view is the most intuitive way to see the results of the automatic detection, so you can see for yourself what your data looks like. Of course there are many more reasons, but don’t just take our word for it, watch the video below to see what one of our customers has to say about this.

Automatic detection of freezing

Instead of using mobility of the animal as an indicator, freezing is more accurately assessed by a method called activity detection in EthoVision XT. It basically means that the software detects changes at the pixel level from one video frame to the next. These pixel changes are recognized in the whole video frame, not just the part that is recognized as the animal's body.  

Customer testimonial

“You have a really good detection of the freezing. I mean, the idea of the change in the pixels, it’s a really good one.”

Prof. Roberto Rimondini | Alma Mater Studiorum Bologna, Italy

You’re in control

Lack of movement is not just that. An animal that is freezing does not necessarily have to be completely still, because it still has to breathe. But where this threshold lies is dependent on, for example, body size. And body size might be affected by the treatment or manipulation you have applied. That is why you are in control of that threshold.

Integrated visualization

One of the ways to fine-tune this threshold is by use of the integrated visualization, where the tracks of your animal are superimposed on the video file, and data is represented in dynamic graphs. (A great little extra is that this part of the software also has a built-in screen recording tool, allowing you to make a video of the integrated visualization which you can use for presentations).

Customer testimonial

“I think one really big step was the integrated view. We have to trust the system, but to see the animal, to see really, oh this one is really freezing...”

Prof. Roberto Rimondini | Alma Mater Studiorum Bologna, Italy

Powerful data selection tools

A large part of the quality of your research depends on how you analyze your data. Data selection is a crucial part at the start of your analysis. EthoVision XT incorporates easy-to-use data selection and analysis tools, so you can easily compare different treatment groups and results over time.

Suggested reading

Blog post: Freeze! A recent study on PTSD and the immune system.

These are some recent studies using EthoVision XT for the fear conditioning tasks:

  • Yu, T.-S.; Tensaouti, Y.; Bagha, Z.M.; Davidson, R.; Kim, A.; Kernie, S.G. (2017). Adult newborn neurons interfere with fear discrimination in a protocol-dependent manner. Brain and Behavior, 7, e00796.
  • Jones, M.E.; Lebonville, C.L.; Paniccia, J.E.; Balentine, M.E.; Reissner, K.J.; Lysle, D.T. (2017). Hippocampal interleukin-1 mediates stress-enhanced fear learning: A potential role for astrocyte-derived interleukin-1β. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 67, 355-363.
  • Wang, Y.; Li, Y.; Zhao, R.; Wu, B.; Lanoha, B.; Tong. Z.; Peer, J.; Liu, J.; Xiong, H.; Huang, Y.; Zheng, J. (2017). Glutaminase C overexpression in the brain induces learning deficits, synaptic dysfunctions, and neuroinflammation in mice. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 66, 135-145.
  • Shahani, N.; Huang, W.-C.; Varnum, M.; Page, D.T.; Subramaniam, S. (2017). Forebrain depletion of Rheb GTPase elicits spatial memory deficits in mice. Neurobiology of Aging, 50, 134-143.