Presentation Title

Modifying the T-maze to be a more ethologically representative measure of motivation in lactating mice

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kimberly D'Anna-Hernandez, PH.D.

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

9

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

The T-Maze is an apparatus used for testing lab mice and can be used to measure latency for pup-retrieval. However, the current T-maze model may not accurately represent the natural environment of mice. Additionally, the original T-maze may produce anxiety, which can be a confound when strictly measuring pup retrieval. Previous research uses the T-maze to measure maternal behavior by how many times the mothers - called “dams” - will retrieve pups. In past testing, the lab has often seen a very low amount of dams that retrieved their pups in a given amount of time - 15-30 minutes. To increase the ethological validity and chances of pup retrieval, we modified the T-Maze apparatus by attaching the dam’s home-cage to the rear of the T-Maze. Compared to previous experiments in our lab that have, on average, yielded low pup retrieval rates ( <30% of dams retrieved pups), the new T-maze with home-cage yielded higher pup retrieval (>50% of dams retrieved pups). These results suggest that the new apparatus with the home-cage may be a more accurate method to assess pup retrieval in lactating dams.

Keywords: Maternal behavior, Postpartum depression, pup retrieval, anxiety, motivation, T-maze.

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Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

Modifying the T-maze to be a more ethologically representative measure of motivation in lactating mice

9

The T-Maze is an apparatus used for testing lab mice and can be used to measure latency for pup-retrieval. However, the current T-maze model may not accurately represent the natural environment of mice. Additionally, the original T-maze may produce anxiety, which can be a confound when strictly measuring pup retrieval. Previous research uses the T-maze to measure maternal behavior by how many times the mothers - called “dams” - will retrieve pups. In past testing, the lab has often seen a very low amount of dams that retrieved their pups in a given amount of time - 15-30 minutes. To increase the ethological validity and chances of pup retrieval, we modified the T-Maze apparatus by attaching the dam’s home-cage to the rear of the T-Maze. Compared to previous experiments in our lab that have, on average, yielded low pup retrieval rates ( <30% of dams retrieved pups), the new T-maze with home-cage yielded higher pup retrieval (>50% of dams retrieved pups). These results suggest that the new apparatus with the home-cage may be a more accurate method to assess pup retrieval in lactating dams.

Keywords: Maternal behavior, Postpartum depression, pup retrieval, anxiety, motivation, T-maze.