Researchers at the VU University Amsterdam and Biobserve GmbH have succeeded in developing the first validated animal model to simulate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in mice (see http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00314/abstract).
This state-of-the-art animal model based on Biobserve’s proprietary animal evaluation software and developed by the research group of Prof. Oliver Stiedl at the VU Amsterdam, simulates PTSD in mice. PTSD is a major driver of cost for care of returning military veterans, emergency workers, and other professions in which humans are exposed to challenging emotional conditions.
This model allows researchers to potentially evaluate both the mechanisms required developing PTSD (ICD-10 F43.1) and pharmaceutical approaches to managing the disease in subpopulations of susceptible individuals within an inbred mouse strain.
Biobserve’s software was used to have the most reliable 3-point-tracking of the animals over an extended period in a home cage-like environment, the easy integration of multi-camera-views, the ability to control 3rd party hardware based on the animals behavior and the consistency of data interrogation.
The ability to seamlessly synchronize data from multiple cameras resulting in a HD image allowed the researchers to clearly delineate the fear responses and replicable exploiting body postures in a home compartment and a connected test compartment (HomeCagePlus).
The software further allowed contemporaneous observation and historical review due to the ability of the program to analyze large volumes of data and condensing the analysis into usable data bins. Videos of the new system are available on the Biobserve Youtube channel.
Customization of the software allowed both greater specificity of monitoring the animal responses, allowing greater tailoring of the solution set, while maintaining data integrity and performance stability of the system, that offers a high degree of flexibility for use in other research directions from addiction to higher cognitive functions.
Another major improvement is the exploitation of unambiguous behavioral measures that are relevant according to the DSM-5.