The Sociability Chamber comprises several essential components: The dimensions of a Sociability Chamber for mice and rats may vary depending on the specific design and manufacturer, but a standard configuration often follows these general guidelines:
- Central Chamber: Typically, the central chamber is square-shaped with sides measuring around 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches). It serves as the neutral zone where the animal starts the experiment.
- Side Chambers: Each side chamber is often rectangular with dimensions of approximately 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) in length and 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches) in width. These chambers house the target animal or object.
- Doorways: Small doorways, usually measuring around 5 to 7 centimeters (2 to 3 inches) in width, connect the central chamber to the side chambers. These doorways can be opened or closed to control access during the experiment.
Materials Needed for the Sociability Chamber Assay
- Sociability Chamber: Acquire a Sociability Chamber from AniLocus that adheres to the specified dimensions and design requirements. The chamber will be made from durable and easy-to-clean materials such as acrylic, plexiglass, or similar materials.
- Animal: Select animal strains or experimental subjects aligned with your research objectives. Ensure you have both the subject animal (the one being tested) and a target animal (used for social interaction) if you are conducting a social interaction trial.
- Enclosures or Objects: Prepare the enclosures or objects that will be placed in the side chambers. These could be standard round wire cages or simple containers if conducting a social interaction trial, or inanimate objects for nonsocial interaction trials.
- Video Cameras: Install high-resolution video cameras at strategic angles to record animal interactions and movements within the chamber. Ensure good visibility and lighting conditions.
- Video Recording Equipment: You’ll need video recording equipment to capture and store the behavioral data generated during the assay.
- Cleaning Supplies: Have cleaning supplies on hand to maintain the cleanliness of the chamber between trials, as well as to ensure the removal of any residual odors that could affect animal behavior.
- OPTIONAL – Control Software: Utilize appropriate control software to manage the experiment, including opening and closing doorways, tracking animal movements, and recording data.
- OPTIONAL – Data Analysis Software: After the experiment, use data analysis software to analyze the collected behavioral data and assess sociability and interaction patterns.
These materials, when used in accordance with the dimensions and setup described, create a conducive environment for conducting sociability and preference experiments in mice using a Sociability Chamber. Researchers can adapt specific details based on their experimental requirements and objectives.
Preparing the Sociability Chamber
Before commencing experiments, ensure that the Sociability Chamber is clean and free from any lingering odors or residues that might influence animal behavior. Place the chamber in a controlled environment, where ambient conditions like lighting, temperature, and humidity remain consistent.
Conducting the Experiment
Initiate the experiment by introducing the subject animal into the central chamber and allowing it to acclimate for a predetermined period. This minimizes initial anxiety and stress levels, ensuring more reliable behavioral data.
Phase 1: Habituation
During this phase, close the doorways to the side chambers to familiarize the subject animal with the central chamber. Allow it to explore this neutral zone without social interaction.
Phase 2: Sociability Test
Open one of the doorways to a side chamber, introducing either another animal (for a social interaction trial) or an object (for a nonsocial interaction trial). Observe and record the subject animal’s preference for social vs. nonsocial interaction.
Phase 3: Social Novelty Test
In this phase, close the original doorway and open the other doorway to the opposite side chamber, introducing a novel animal or object. Measure the subject animal’s preference for social novelty.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
Post-experiment, analyze the collected behavioral data to assess sociability, preference for social novelty, and interaction patterns. Interpret the results within the context of your research objectives.
Contact us to request a fully customizable sociability chamber for your study.
- Moy, S. S., Nadler, J. J., Perez, A. , Barbaro, R. P., Johns, J. M., Magnuson, T. R., Piven, J. and Crawley, J. N. (2004), Sociability and preference for social novelty in five inbred strains: an approach to assess autistic‐like behavior in mice. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 3: 287-302. doi:10.1111/j.1601-1848.2004.00076.x.
- Mark T. Henbid, Wendie N. Marks, Madeline J. Collins, Stuart M. Cain, Terrance P. Snutch, John G. Howland. Sociability impairments in Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg: Reversal by the T-type calcium channel antagonist Z944. Experimental Neurology, Volume 296, 2017, Pages 16-22. ISSN 0014-4886.