Description

This 3 chambered device is a fantastic contraption for researchers studying socialization who require an apparatus in which variables may be altered to change the premises of the experiment. The design permits socialization but disallows aggravated socialization so that auspicious and accurate data may be collected. Measurable factors include transitions between chambers, time spent in direct contact, and unique behavioral variables such as jumping and grooming. Accoutrements for this product include floor cues, stainless-steel grids or perforated stainless-steel, to forge an aversive stimulus, and removable doors to establish biased and unbiased conditioned place preference testing.

Request a Sociability Chamber

Click to Request a Sociability Chamber

Click to Request a Sociability Chamber

Request a Sociability Chamber

Mouse

$ 1990

+ Shipping and Handling ($300)

  • Acrylic
  • Matted, non Reflective
  • Odor Free
  • Easy clean with 70% Ethanol

Rat

$ 2490

+ Shipping and Handling ($500)

  • Acrylic
  • Matted, non Reflective
  • Odor Free
  • Easy clean with 70% Ethanol

Modifications Available

Floor Insert (3)

Used for Mouse

Dimensions: 40cm x 20cm to fit

Cost $129

Floor Insert (3)

Used for Rat

Dimensions: 80cm x 40cm to fit

Cost $240

Floor Insert (Carousel Cages)

Used for Mouse

Dimensions: 10cm diameter to fit

Cost $40

Floor Insert (Carousel Cages)

Used for Rat

Dimensions: 22cm to fit

Cost $80

Extra Cage

Cost $350

Box Square Carousel

 Minimzes hiding areas

Cost $300

Documentation

Introduction

The “three-chamber paradigm test” is widely utilized in the studying of social memory and has application to neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and OCD. This product gives mice social choice options by allowing a mouse to approach a peer confined in an acrylic cage; this is a measure of its sociability. The removable doors between chambers allows for confinement of a stimulus to one side to create a “social choice.” Avoidance or approach can both be measured with this stimulus. The acrylic cylinders are large enough to hold the mouse to allow it to be seen, heard, and smelled. These cues aid the test mouse in finding the stimulus mouse.

The results are then measured and analyzed for the scientist’s unique purpose of the experiment. The time spent with an unfamiliar mouse and preference to spend time with a familiar vs unfamiliar mouse is quantified. In addition, the test subject’s preference to spend time with an unfamiliar mouse vs remaining solitary may be observed and analyzed. For a more in-depth study, our Sociability and Place Preference product is flexible enough to experiment with other variables and conditions.

Apparatus and Equipment

The sociability and place preference apparatus consists of three chambers. The chamber depth is 40 cm, the width is 20 cm, and the height is 25 cm. The door size is 20 cm to 22cm which allows the animals free movement throughout the chambers.

Other chambers have a thin acrylic cage with a height of 15cm and diameter of 7cm. The acrylic cage allows initiation of social contact while limiting the possibility of aggressive interactions.

Two sliding interchamber doors permit isolation into the middle compartment of the apparatus. By sliding this door, animals have access to move freely and explore between the two compartments (as seen in the image).

Combinations of floor and wall cues are available, and variation is provided upon request. Tactile floor cues such as a “grid” made from stainless-steel rods or a “hole” floor made from perforated stainless-steel are options. A shock unit may be included to create aversive stimuli and can be placed in any chamber.

This apparatus and customizable equipment make this product unique to the needs of every researcher looking into sociability.

Training Protocol

The most common protocol performed in this is the “three chamber” test which looks at whether mice prefer spending time alone in another similar, but empty chamber, opposed to spending time with another mouse. For a more detailed approach, if a mouse would prefer spending time with an unfamiliar or familiar mouse. In an application to psychological disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are characterized by challenged social behavior and recognition.

Pre-Training for the Sociability and Place Preference Apparatus

Both the equipment and test animals require preparation to ensure that the experiment may proceed smoothly and that the data will result without bias.

Spatially, all components of the sociability and place preference apparatus must be correct and accurately placed.  Luckily, this device has everything already pre-placed and ready to go!  Timing must be right as well: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  The suggested room lighting is around 650 lux.

In the set up before trials, all chambers must be cleaned with 70% ethanol and Clidox 1:5:1 in order to eliminate competing olfactory cues that would otherwise alter the data.

The observer noting behavior should be standing around 6.5 feet away from the device.

In regards to the mice, there are a few specifics.  Three to five mice should be placed in a cage with a 12 hour light/dark cycle with the light cycle beginning at seven in the morning.  For information on food and water access, seek out the standard protocol according to the Animal Care Committee.

Thirty minutes prior to the start of the test, move all the cages of mice into the room in which they will be assessed.

Two mice will be used per experiment: the control and experimental mice.  The control mouse should be a completely unfamiliar mouse to the experimental mouse of similar age, background, gender, and weight.  Two control mice will be used for each experiment: one per each of the two sessions.

Before launching the experiment, be sure to give the mice a chance to adapt.  This involves isolating the right and left compartments via the removable walls.  Make sure the empty wire cups are ready to go in each of the side chambers.  Then allow the mouse into the center chamber to become familiar with its surroundings for a good 5 minutes.

Evaluation of Sociability Testing Using the Three-Chambered Sociability Apparatus

*Note: a mouse is considered in a section of the apparatus when it has its and 4 paws across the boundary.

The table above represents an example of what you would be looking for in the evaluation of an experiment testing sociability in mice via the Three-Chambered Sociability Apparatus.  The main point is to look for differences between the results of the two sessions.

Modifications

A wide variety of alternative behavior assessments can be performed with this three-chamber sociability apparatus. For one option, the estimation of maternal behavior by look at how long a female mouse would spend next to a cup that contains her pups. This test looks for maternal motivation. Also, sexual motivation may be tested by placing a male/female under the cup and having a test male/female come in.
Some further experiments could include examining how a mouse responds in the home cage vs the new environment, “partition tests, social approach tests, resident intruder tests, and reciprocal social interaction.” In the past, researchers utilized this device to study the response of special senses to an array of stimuli.
The three-chamber sociability test allows for the collection of critical data that, in the long run, may be applied to human disorders like autism and schizophrenia where there is a deficit in sociability. Taking it a step further, this test may also be used to illustrate the effects of pharmacological compounds on sociability.

Sample Data

The data for the three-chamber sociability apparatus may be constructed into a chart using the time in seconds (mean + or – SEM) spent in each. The subgroups of mice are defined by age, sex, and strain. The time tests are performed in the absence of first five minutes of testing) and in the presence (in the second five minutes of testing) of the stimulus mouse in the cylinder.
The subgroups may include two strains of mice further divided into males and females then further divided into 4-week old’s vs 9-week old’s.
The constraints on the x-axis can include the following: time in social side when the stimulus mouse is absent, time in social side when the stimulus is present, time in the center when the stimulus is absent, time in the center when the stimulus mouse is present, time in the nonsocial side when the stimulus mouse is absent, and time in the nonsocial side when the stimulus mouse is present.
Below is an example of what the data might look like.

 

Here you can see Session 1 results where the ±SEM in the chamber is compared between the “stranger side” and “empty side.” The KO mice had similar results failed to show any preference for social proximity. A graph for Session 2 would look similar with different results along the y-axis.

Strengths and Limitations

The three-chamber sociability test has many advantages because of its flexibility and design that improves data reliability.

• The wire cup eliminates fighting and aggressive behavior and allows sensory interaction (smell sight, taste, sound)
• The experimental mouse initiates and terminates any interactions.
• The three-chamber apparatus is large enough to allow the subject mouse to remain close to the novel mouse of far from it.
• The environment is low-stress where the only stress caused is by placing the experimental mouse into a novel environment; however, that allows repetition of this test over time.
*An example of this would be the assessment of juvenile to adult social recognition vs social memory or cognitive impairments.

Despite all this procedure’s advantages, there are still some disadvantages with significant weight. First of all, the test can be quite long in duration- spanning 40 minutes per mouse. Also, any observed anxiety may be attributed to the lack of appropriate adaptation to the experimental room or its lighting. The mice may even be sick which would throw off some of the observations. The three-chamber sociability test leaves a lot of room for error because it tests so many variables. The multitude of variables allows for further experimentation opposed to just the standard sociability test; however, some of the characteristics looked for in particular tests may arise erroneously in the intended experiment.

Summary and Key Points

• This product gives mice social choice options by allowing a mouse to approach a peer confined in an acrylic cage; this is a measure of its sociability.
• This apparatus and customizable equipment make this product unique to the needs of every researcher looking into sociability.
• In an application to psychological disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are characterized by challenged social behavior and recognition.
• Spatially, all components of the sociability and place preference apparatus must be correct and accurately placed. Luckily, this device has everything already pre-placed and ready to go!
• Some further experiments could include examining how a mouse responds in the home cage vs the new environment, “partition tests, social approach tests, resident intruder tests, and reciprocal social interaction.”

References

Kaidanovich-Beilin, O., Lipina, T., Vukobradovic, I., Roder, J., & Woodgett, J. R. (2011). Assessment of Social Interaction Behaviors. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE, (48), 2473. Advance online publication. [PUBMED]

Moy, S. S., Nadler, J. J., Perez, A., Barbaro, R. P., Johns, J. M., Magnuson, T. R., Piven, J. and Crawley, J. N. (2004), Sociability and preference for social novelty in five inbred strains: an approach to assess autistic-like behavior in mice. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 3: 287–302. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-1848.2004.00076.x [PUBMED]

Mouse

Sociability Maze - Mouse
Sociability Maze - Mouse

Mouse Sociability Maze Size (CM)

  • Total Cage Size: 40.5 x 60, 22 (height)
  • Wire Cage: 10 (diameter), 20 (height)

Rat

Sociability Maze - Rat (1)
Sociability Maze - Rat (1)

Rat Sociability Maze Size (CM)

  • Total Cage Size: 80 x 120, 40 (height)
  • Wire Cage: 22 (diameter), 40 (height)