L.N. Anishchenko, S.I. Ivashov, D.A. Korchagina
Laboratory rats are now one of the most common types of animal models for modeling the effects of acute and chronic intoxication. Behavioral experiments are also used in addition to simple observation of the physiological state of animals in testing new drugs. At present, invasive methods for measuring physiological parameters are used during testing of drugs and toxic substances on laboratory animals. The estimation of animal locomotor activity is made by the researcher visually. The situation is similar to the methods of evaluating the behavioral reactions of the animal. Specially designed video tracking systems, such as Ethovision, can be used for automatic estimation of locomotor activity. The main disadvantages of such systems are the large volume of recorded information and high complexity of the image processing algorithms, which are used.
There are other devices for automated estimation of locomotor activity parameters of laboratory animals. Some of them contain pressure sensors, optical sensors, receiving and transmitting antennas, mounted in the floor or walls of the cage, which allow estimating the movement of the animal. The main drawbacks of all these devices are the complexity of manufacturing cells in which the animal is placed during the experiment, and the fact that the devices are designed for a certain kind of animal.
The main advantage of bioradiolocation in this area of application is the possibility of integral evaluation of rat locomotor activity automatically during prolonged time period. This method does not require the use of a specially designed cell. It can be used with a plastic container, in which the animals usually are housed in laboratories.