Noninvasive assessment of altered activity following restraint in mice using an automated physiological monitoring system Academic Article uri icon


  • In the laboratory setting, typical endocrine and targeted behavioral tests are limited in their ability to provide a direct assessment of stress in animals housed in undisturbed conditions. We hypothesized that an automated phenotyping system would allow the detection of subtle stress-related behavioral changes well beyond the time-frames examined using conventional methods. In this study, we have utilized the TSE PhenoMaster system to continuously record basal behaviors and physiological parameters including activity, body weight, food intake and oxygen consumption in undisturbed and stressed C57Bl/6J male mice (n = 12/group), with a pharmacological intervention using the conventional anxiolytic, diazepam (5 mg kg-1 i.p.; n = 8/group). We observed significant 20-30% reductions in locomotor activity in the dark phase, with subtle reductions in light phase activity for up to 96 h following a single 2 h episode of restraint stress. A single administration of diazepam reduced plasma corticosterone concentrations by 30-35% during stress exposure when compared to mice treated with vehicle. This treatment did not result in significantly different locomotor activity compared to vehicle within the first 48 h following restraint stress. However, diazepam treatment facilitated restoration of locomotor activity at 72 and 96 h after restraint stress exposure in comparison to vehicle-treated mice. Hence, the use of an automated phenotyping system allows a real time assessment of basal behaviors and empirical metabolism following exposure to restraint stress and demonstrates major and subtle changes in activity persist for several days after stress exposure.


  • Spiers, Jereme G
  • Chen, Hsiao-Jou Cortina
  • Steyn, Frederik J
  • Lavidis, Nickolas A
  • Woodruff, Trent M
  • Lee, John D

publication date

  • 2017