Document Detail

Different levels of food restriction reveal genotype-specific differences in learning a visual discrimination task.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23144936     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In behavioural experiments, motivation to learn can be achieved using food rewards as positive reinforcement in food-restricted animals. Previous studies reduce animal weights to 80-90% of free-feeding body weight as the criterion for food restriction. However, effects of different degrees of food restriction on task performance have not been assessed. We compared learning task performance in mice food-restricted to 80 or 90% body weight (BW). We used adult wildtype (WT; C57Bl/6j) and knockout (ephrin-A2⁻/⁻) mice, previously shown to have a reverse learning deficit. Mice were trained in a two-choice visual discrimination task with food reward as positive reinforcement. When mice reached criterion for one visual stimulus (80% correct in three consecutive 10 trial sets) they began the reverse learning phase, where the rewarded stimulus was switched to the previously incorrect stimulus. For the initial learning and reverse phase of the task, mice at 90%BW took almost twice as many trials to reach criterion as mice at 80%BW. Furthermore, WT 80 and 90%BW groups significantly differed in percentage correct responses and learning strategy in the reverse learning phase, whereas no differences between weight restriction groups were observed in ephrin-A2⁻/⁻ mice. Most importantly, genotype-specific differences in reverse learning strategy were only detected in the 80%BW groups. Our results indicate that increased food restriction not only results in better performance and a shorter training period, but may also be necessary for revealing behavioural differences between experimental groups. This has important ethical and animal welfare implications when deciding extent of diet restriction in behavioural studies.
Kalina Makowiecki; Geoff Hammond; Jennifer Rodger
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2012-11-07
Journal Detail:
Title:  PloS one     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1932-6203     ISO Abbreviation:  PLoS ONE     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-12     Completed Date:  2013-05-09     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101285081     Medline TA:  PLoS One     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e48703     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal
Discrimination (Psychology) / physiology*
Ephrin-A2 / genetics
Learning / physiology*
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Mice, Knockout
Reinforcement (Psychology)
Stress, Psychological / genetics*
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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