Summary of Core Facilities

Cognitive Function

Object Recognition

Object Placement

Social Discrimination Memory

Spontaneous Alternation

• Morris Water Maze

• Sensorimotor gaiting

• Radial Arm Maze

• Conditioned Taste Aversion

Labyrinth Maze

Affective / Emotional Behaviors

Social Interaction

Social Preference

Transmission of Food Preferences

Reproductive and mating behavior

Open Field

Marble Burying

Elevated Plus Maze

• Light/Dark Box

• Acoustic Startle

Porsolt (Forced Swim) Test

Maternal behavior

Novelty Supression of Feeding



Tests of Analgesia

Von Frey

Cold Tail Flick


Sensorimotor Function

Open Field


Grip Strength

• Gait analysis and toe spread

Balance Beam

• Visual Placing

• Visual Cliff

• Pupil dilation

Tape removal test



Functional Observation Battery

Estrous Cycle Staging

• Behavioral Tracking software

• Conditioned Place Preference

• Grooming

• Stereotypies

Developmental milestones (pups)

Homing (pups)

Play (juvenile)


Marble Burying and Digging

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1. Ho, Y.-J., J. Eichendorff, and R.K.W. Schwarting, Individual response profiles of male Wistar rats in animal models for anxiety and depression. Behavioural Brain Research, 2002. 136(1): p. 1.

2. Borsini, F., J. Podhorna, and D. Marazziti, Do animal models of anxiety predict anxiolytic-like effects of antidepressants? Psychopharmacology (Berl), 2002. 163(2): p. 121-41.

3. Archer, T., et al., Marble burying and spontaneous motor activity in mice: interactions over days and the effect of diazepam. Scand J Psychol, 1987. 28(3): p. 242-9.

4. Brodkin, J., et al., Anxiolytic-like activity of the mGluR5 antagonist MPEP: A comparison with diazepam and buspirone. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 2002. 73(2): p. 359.

5. Broekkamp, C.L., et al., Major tranquillizers can be distinguished from minor tranquillizers on the basis of effects on marble burying and swim-induced grooming in mice. Eur J Pharmacol, 1986. 126(3): p. 223-9.

6. Njung'e, K. and S.L. Handley, Evaluation of marble-burying behavior as a model of anxiety. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 1991. 38(1): p. 63-7.

7. Nicolas, L.B., Y. Kolb, and E.P. Prinssen, A combined marble burying-locomotor activity test in mice: a practical screening test with sensitivity to different classes of anxiolytics and antidepressants. Eur J Pharmacol, 2006. 547(1-3): p. 106-15.

8. Gyertyan, I., Analysis of the marble burying response: marbles serve to measure digging rather than evoke burying. Behav Pharmacol, 1995. 6(1): p. 24-31.

9. Londei, T., A.M. Valentini, and V.G. Leone, Investigative burying by laboratory mice may involve non-functional, compulsive, behaviour. Behav Brain Res, 1998. 94(2): p. 249-54.

10. Woods-Kettelberger, A., et al., Animal models with potential applications for screening compounds for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Expert Opin Investig Drugs, 1997. 6(10): p. 1369-81.

11. Hedlund, P.B. and J.G. Sutcliffe, The 5-HT7 receptor influences stereotypic behavior in a model of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuroscience Letters, 2007. 414(3): p. 247-251.

12. Dekeyne, A., Behavioural models for the characterisation of established and innovative antidepressant agents. Therapie, 2005. 60(5): p. 477-84.

13. Dourish, C.T., C. McNicoll, and A. Fletcher, The 5-HT1A Receptor Antagonist WAY-100635 enhances the Behavioural Effects of SSRIs. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 1996. 6(Supplement 3): p. 16.

14. Harasawa, T., et al., Role of serotonin type 1A receptors in fluvoxamine-induced inhibition of marble-burying behavior in mice. Behav Pharmacol, 2006. 17(7): p. 637-640.

15. Palucha, A. and A. Pilc, Metabotropic glutamate receptor ligands as possible anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2007. 115(1): p. 116-147.

16. Shimazaki, T., M. Iijima, and S. Chaki, Anxiolytic-like activity of MGS0039, a potent group II metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonist, in a marble-burying behavior test. European Journal of Pharmacology, 2004. 501(1-3): p. 121-125.

17. Li, X., D. Morrow, and J.M. Witkin, Decreases in nestlet shredding of mice by serotonin uptake inhibitors: comparison with marble burying. Life Sci, 2006. 78(17): p. 1933-9.

18. Matsushita, M., et al., Perospirone, a novel antipsychotic drug, inhibits marble-burying behavior via 5-HT1A receptor in mice: implications for obsessive-compulsive disorder. J Pharmacol Sci, 2005. 99(2): p. 154-9.

19. Egashira, N., et al., Involvement of the sigma1 receptor in inhibiting activity of fluvoxamine on marble-burying behavior: Comparison with paroxetine. European Journal of Pharmacology, 2007. 563(1-3): p. 149-154.

20. Pinel, J.P. and D. Treit, Burying as a defensive response in rats. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 1978. 92(4): p. 708-712.

21. Wilkie, D.M., A.J. MacLennan, and J.P. Pinel, Rat defensive behavior: burying noxious food. J Exp Anal Behav, 1979. 31(3): p. 299-306.

22. Parker, L.A., Defensive burying of flavors paired with lithium but not amphetamine. Psychopharmacology, 1988. 96(2): p. 250-252.

23. Poling, A., J. Cleary, and M. Monaghan, Burying by rats in response to aversive and nonaversive stimuli. J Exp Anal Behav, 1981. 35(1): p. 31-44.

24. Deacon, R.M.J. and J.N.P. Rawlins, Hippocampal lesions, species-typical behaviours and anxiety in mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 2005. 156(2): p. 241-249.

25. Gray, D.S., et al., Effect of septal lesions on conditioned defensive burying. Physiol Behav, 1981. 27(6): p. 1051-6.

26. Dringenberg, H.C., Y. Levine, and J.L. Menard, Electrical stimulation of dorsal, but not ventral hippocampus reduces behavioral defense in the elevated plus maze and shock-probe burying test in rats. Behav Brain Res, 2007.

The marble burying test is a useful model of neophobia [1], anxiety [1-7] and obsessive-compulsive behavior [8-11]. It has also been proposed that the test may have predictive validity for the screening of novel antidepressants [12-15], anxiolytics [15, 16] and antipsychotics [17-19]. It is also a measure of the general health and well being of the animals and may be relevant to behavioral perserverance.

This behavior belongs is probably a type of defensive burying typical of rodents [20]. It does not seem that marbles are specifically aversive [6], although making them so by coating them or pairing them with aversive substances does increase burying [21, 22]. This is consistent with the fact that electrified probes are buried more than innocuous ones. Factors such as novelty or hedonic value of the substances to be buried, however, do not seem to be primary modulators in the amount of burying [23].

C57/B mice can be expected to bury roughly 75% of the marbles in a 30 min period, though this may vary with the strain, age and sex [24].

The neuronal circuitry of this behavior has not been clearly elucidated. The hippocampus and septum are likely to be important, since lesions in these areas reduce digging [24-26].