The radial arm maze is a paradigm that is often used to assess working and reference memory in rats and mice. When investigating working memory, all arms are usually provided with a (food) reward and the animal should visit each arm only once. When used for assessing reference memory, only some of the arms contain a reward and the animal should only visit those baited arms. Visits to an arm more than once or visits to non-baited arms count as working memory errors or reference memory errors, respectively.
The radial arm maze can be modified by equipping it with manual or automatic doors to conduct sophisticated experiments. For example, rodents could be learned to visit a specific arm before the door to a baited arm is opened.
Noldus offers you the perfect tools for this test. First of all, EthoVision XT will track the behavior, activity, and movement of your animals in high detail. Add a radial arm maze and other equipment you need to create a complete solution. To get your experiment up and running quickly, EthoVision XT includes a radial arm maze template with pre-defined settings that you can fine-tune to your liking.
Behaviors related to areas of interest
For efficient data selection and analysis, EthoVision XT allows you to specify different zones or points of interest from the video image of your test arena. This allows the program to automatically measure parameters related to these zones.
Tracking movement and behavior in detail
The EthoVision XT Multiple Body Points Module is able to detect and track not only the center point, but also the nose point and tail base of mice and rats. This allows for the accurate measurement of an animal’s relative position. For example, you can use it to discriminate between the animal poking only its nose around the corner or moving its entire body into one of the arms of a radial arm maze.
Control of external equipment
The radial arm maze is also a great test to fully automate. It can be equipped with automatic doors, and programmed with the EthoVision XT Trial & Hardware Control Module to create sophisticated protocols.
EthoVision XT allows you to control external hardware from within the software. This control is based on user-definable protocols. You formulate these protocols by defining several steps and conditions in “blocks” which you can drag and interconnect easily.
For example: you can start a session with all doors of a radial arm maze closed and open them after 10 seconds, and then close all but one door as soon as the animal entered that specific arm.
Radial arm maze components
The radial arm maze consists of up to eight runway ends. This maze includes manual guillotine doors, but with EthoVision XT you can control the automatic guillotine doors (optional) that have quiet motors which are mounted underneath the runways so that nothing obstructs the camera view and stands in the way of optimal tracking conditions.
Examples of parameters
In the radial arm maze test, a number of variables are of interest. Examples include the total number of arm entries to collect all food rewards, the number of visits to each arm, latency until first arm entry, and time spent in each arm. EthoVision XT can calculate these automatically.