The overarching objective of the Animal Resource and Behavioral Assessment Core (Core B) is to provide the facilities, instrumentation and technical expertise to perform comprehensive analyses of rodent behavior for assessment of functional deficits or enhancements related to experimental insult, pharmacological intervention, or genetic manipulation. The core will provide a reliable resource in purchasing, maintaining aging and breeding colonies, and behaviorally characterizing animals to support hypothesis-driven research from the projects involved in this Program Project. These objectives will be attained by addressing the following specific aims: (i) To purchase, identify, maintain, and distribute rats or mice to all the projects involved in this program and coordinate distribution to Core C (Electrophysiology Core) and research projects, (ii)To generate neonates which will be used by projects to establish primary neuronal cultures, (iii) To assess motor and cognitive function of C57BL/6CrlNia mice, Homer 1a knock-out mice and Sprague- Dawley (SD) rats of specified ages which will then be distributed to each of the Projects or to Core C to correlate behavioral performance with neural endpoints. In this application, the Core B will utilize C57BL/6 mice and Ho1 knock-out mice (provided by Dr. Koulen) and Sprague-Dawley rats. Based on the requirements from the different projects, a key function of the core will be to assess behavioral performance. All projects will utilize the Morris water maze test to measure spatial memory, a test that has been improved during the current cycle to afford detection of a larger age difference and to substantially increase the power for detecting effects of experimental interventions. Bridge walking and rotorod tests will be utilized to measure psychomotor function. Other tests such as the elevated plus maze or grip strength have been requested by different projects for specific reasons. Performance on these behavioral tests has been well established to be reliable, age-sensitive and sensitive to interventions such as caloric restriction and antioxidant supplementation. Due to the various strains being tested within the realm of the core, we will offer the opportunity to perform species and genetic comparisons of behavioral performance. Furthermore, various interventions implemented by the projects will be studied for their effects on behavioral performance.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-8)
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West Virginia University
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