Closed-Loop Experiments In Awake Behaving Mice

Viktoria Korzhova1, Dmytro Toptunov1, Evgeny Pryazhnikov1, Julia Kolikova1, Leonard Khiroug2

1 Neurotar Ltd., Helsinki, Finland
2 HiLIFE/Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

take this

Experiments in awake freely behaving animals provide profound insights into the neurobiology of behavior, sensory integration, perception, decision-making, and other complex processes. However, this approach is inherently challenging for such high-precision techniques as 2-photon imaging, single-cell optogenetics, and patch-clamp recording. Scientists are forced to make a choice between using less precise head-mounted devices or anesthetizing animals to ensure immobilization. Unfortunately, anesthetics have adverse physiological effects that can compromise data quality and translational relevance. To overcome these challenges, we have developed a research instrument that ensures the stability required for high-precision neurophysiological techniques while allowing mice to move freely in two dimensions, explore their environment and perform a variety of behavioral tasks. Moreover, the device monitors the position of the mouse as well as the trajectory and the speed of the movement and enables automatic stimuli triggering during closed-loop experiments. This allows operant conditioning via automatic stimuli delivery and precise manipulation of brain states with simultaneous behavior readouts. Our end goal is to be able to minimize the participation of the researcher in the experiment and thus minimize the influence of non-relevant researchers-induced triggers.