Affiliations: Brain Repair Group, School of Bioscience, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Note:  Correspondence to: Andreas Heuer, Brain Repair Group, School of Bioscience, Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX, Wales, UK. Tel.: +44 2920 874684; Fax: +44 2920 876749; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is most commonly modelled in rats via injection of the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the medial forebrain bundle. Assessment of lateralised choice reaction time is usually conducted in the 9 hole box, a highly specialized apparatus that is not widely available in many behavioural laboratories. The retractable lever Skinner box on the other hand is more readily available and may have the additional advantage of faster training of animals. Objective: The present study assesses the performance of lesioned rats on a lateralised choice reaction time task that allows for quantitative assessment of the behavioural profile of models of neurodegenerative diseases in the retractable lever Skinner box. Methods: Here we compared the post lesion performance of pretrained female Lister hooded rats that received unilateral 6-OHDA lesions to the medial forebrain bundle and untreated controls on the choice reaction time task conducted in the Skinner box. Results: Lesioned animals displayed impairments in contralateral accuracy, a reduced number of usable trials, as well as a slowing down of contralateral reaction and bilateral movement time latencies. Conclusions: The findings presented allow greater comparison between laboratories, and may be useful for the investigation of treatment strategies and remedies on this model of PD.
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, 6-OHDA, operant behaviour, Skinner box, choice reaction time, dopamine, rat