Slow angled-descent forepaw grasping (SLAG): An innate behavioral task for identification of individual experimental mice possessing functional vision

Macarena Gil-Pagés, Robert J. Stiles, Christopher A. Parks, Steven C. Neier, Maja Radulovic, Alfredo Oliveros, Alejandro Ferrer, Brendan K. Reed, Katelynn M. Wilton, Adam G. Schrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: There is significant interest in the generation of improved assays to clearly identify experimental mice possessing functional vision, a property that could qualify mice for inclusion in behavioral and neuroscience studies. Widely employed current methods rely on mouse responses to visual cues in assays of reflexes, depth perception, or cognitive memory. However, commonly assessed mouse reflexes can sometimes be ambiguous in their expression, while depth perception assays are sometimes confounded by variation in anxiety responses and exploratory conduct. Furthermore, in situations where experimental groups vary in their cognitive memory capacity, memory assays may not be ideal for assessing differences in vision.Results: We have optimized a non-invasive behavioral assay that relies on an untrained, innate response to identify individual experimental mice possessing functional vision: slow angled-descent forepaw grasping (SLAG). First, we verified that SLAG performance depends on vision and not olfaction. Next, all members of an age-ranged cohort of 158 C57BL/6 mice (57 wild-type, 101 knockout, age range 44-241 days) were assessed for functional vision using the SLAG test without training or conditioning. Subjecting the population to a second innate behavioral test, Dark Chamber preference, corroborated that the functional vision assessment of SLAG was valid.Conclusions: We propose that the SLAG assay is immediately useful to quickly and clearly identify experimental mice possessing functional vision. SLAG is based on a behavioral readout with a significant innate component with no requirement for training. This will facilitate the selection of mice of known sighted status in vision-dependent experiments that focus on other types of behavior, neuroscience, and/or cognitive memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalBehavioral and Brain Functions
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2013

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Keywords

  • Behavioral assay
  • C57BL/6
  • Dark chamber
  • Innate behavior
  • Mouse
  • SLAG
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Gil-Pagés, M., Stiles, R. J., Parks, C. A., Neier, S. C., Radulovic, M., Oliveros, A., Ferrer, A., Reed, B. K., Wilton, K. M., & Schrum, A. G. (2013). Slow angled-descent forepaw grasping (SLAG): An innate behavioral task for identification of individual experimental mice possessing functional vision. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 9(1), [35]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-9081-9-35