Elevated Plus Maze (EPM)

$2,166.00

The elevated plus maze is a widely used behavioral assay in neuroscience research to assess exploratory-related behaviors and exploration tendencies in rodents. Learn more from our protocol and data analysis below!

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The Elevated Plus Maze

The elevated plus maze, characterized by its plus-shaped configuration, comprises two open arms and two enclosed arms, elevated above the ground. It creates a dichotomy between the innate exploratory drive of rodents and their aversion to open, exposed spaces. Researchers exploit this innate conflict to assess exploratory behaviors.

The dimensions of an Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) can vary, but a standard EPM typically has the following dimensions:

  • Arm Length: Each of the two open arms typically measures around 50-60 centimeters (about 20-24 inches) in length.
  • Arm Width: The width of the open arms is usually between 10-15 centimeters (about 4-6 inches).
  • Arm Height: The open arms are elevated above the ground, typically at a height of around 50-60 centimeters (about 20-24 inches).
  • Closed Arms: The two enclosed arms are typically identical in length, width, and height to the open arms.
  • Central Platform: The central platform, where the arms intersect, is usually a square with sides measuring around 10-15 centimeters (about 4-6 inches).

It’s important to note that these dimensions can vary depending on the specific design of the EPM used in a research study or laboratory setting. Researchers can contact us to customize the maze to suit their experimental needs, but the general structure and dimensions described above represent a common configuration for an EPM.

Preparing the Maze

Before commencing experiments, ensure the maze is clean and devoid of extraneous odors or residues that might affect rodent behavior. Place the maze in a controlled environment, where ambient lighting and temperature are consistent.

Experimental Setup for Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) Study

The Elevated Plus Maze is a widely used behavioral test in neuroscience to assess affective behaviors and exploration tendencies in rodents.

Maze Structure:

  • The EPM consists of two open arms and two enclosed arms, arranged in the shape of a plus sign.
  • The open arms are exposed and elevated above the ground, creating an innate conflict between a rodent’s desire for exploration and its aversion to open, unprotected spaces.

Preparing the Maze:

  • Ensure the EPM is clean and free of any lingering odors or residues that could influence rodent behavior.
  • Place the maze in a controlled experimental environment with consistent lighting, temperature, and minimal noise to maintain test reliability.

Animal Selection and Habituation:

  • Carefully select rodents that align with your research objectives, considering factors such as age, strain, and genetic background.
  • Allow rodents to acclimate to the testing room for a suitable period before initiating experiments to reduce affective behavior levels.
  • Gradually habituate rodents to the maze environment by exposing them to the apparatus without formal testing. This helps minimize initial apprehension and novelty-induced stress.

Conducting the EPM Experiment:

  • Begin the experiment by placing the rodent in the center of the maze, equidistant from the open and enclosed arms.
  • Allow the rodent to explore the maze freely for a predetermined duration while recording its behavior through video cameras or automated tracking systems.

Behavioral Parameters:

  • Analyze behavioral parameters that are indicative of affective behaviors and exploration, including:
  • Time spent in open arms vs. enclosed arms
  • Number of entries into each arm type
  • Time spent in the center square (neutral zone)
  • Latency to enter open arms
  • Stretches of time along the unprotected edges of the open arms (stretch-attend behavior)
  • These parameters offer insights into the rodent’s emotional state and exploratory tendencies.

Data Analysis and Interpretation:

  • Analyze the collected behavioral data to draw meaningful conclusions related to your research objectives.
  • Interpret the outcomes in the context of anxiety levels and exploratory behaviors.
  • Communicate your findings effectively through comprehensive reports, graphical representations, and statistical analysis.

Animal Selection and Habituation

Carefully select rodents appropriate for your research goals. Allow them to acclimate to the testing room to reduce anxiety and stress levels. Gradual habituation to the maze environment is vital, as it mitigates initial apprehension and results in more reliable behavioral data.

Conducting the Experiment

To initiate the experiment, place the rodent at the center of the maze, equidistant from the open and enclosed arms. Allow them to explore freely for a predetermined duration while recording their behavior using video cameras or automated tracking systems.

Analyzing Behavioral Parameters

Post-experiment, assess the time spent in open and enclosed arms, the number of entries into each arm type, and other relevant metrics. These parameters offer insights into anxiety levels and exploratory tendencies.

Interpretation and Reporting

Interpret the behavioral data within the context of your research objectives. Elevated plus maze outcomes can provide valuable insights into the effects of drugs, genetics, or experimental interventions on anxiety-related behaviors. Communicate your findings effectively through comprehensive reports and data visualization.

The elevated plus maze stands as a versatile and indispensable tool for probing anxiety and exploratory behaviors in rodents. Through meticulous setup, habituation, experimentation, and data analysis, researchers unlock a window into the intricate world of behavioral neuroscience.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can harness the elevated plus maze’s potential to unveil nuanced insights into rodent behavior, facilitating progress in various fields, from pharmacology to psychology, and beyond.

Reference

  1. Komada M, Takao K, Miyakawa T. Elevated plus maze for miceJ Vis Exp. 2008;(22):1088. Published 2008 Dec 22. doi:10.3791/1088.
  2. Calvo M, Davies AJ, Hébert HL, et al. The Genetics of Neuropathic Pain from Model Organisms to Clinical ApplicationNeuron. 2019;104(4):637–653. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2019.09.018

Additional information

Weight 50 lbs
Dimensions 30 × 8 × 30 in
Species

Mouse, Rat

Color

BLACK, BLUE, GRAY, GREEN, ORANGE, PURPLE, RED, WHITE, CREME

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