Behavioural characterisation of mouse models

Behavior, neurodegenerative disease, in vivo testing, Alzheimer’s disease, transgenic mice, IntelliCage
Figure 1: Intellicage (TSE Systems) for automated cognitive and behavioral screening in social groups without the influence of the experimenter.



Field of application:

A complete set up of behavioural tests is available to characterize mouse models. The focus of our lab is on models of neurodegenerative diseases, but other aspects of behaviour can also be determined.

General health (vision, hearing, grip strength) is tested, to assure that the animals are able to perform the different tests. Subsequently, a large number of tests (listed below) is available to measure different aspects of behaviour. Motor skills, anxiety/fear and learning/memory are the main outcome parameters. Depending on the mouse model used, a different combination of relevant tests can be recommended to accurately characterize the behaviour.

For each behavioural test, our lab has developed a standard operating procedure to ensure high quality and standardization. Video tracking/software is available for data acquisition in all set ups. Afterwards, a trained lab member will perform blinded data analysis. Raw data as well as final results will be made available.

Possible applications of the phenotyping experiments are:

  • Complete characterization of new mouse models
  • Treatment efficiency of newly developed therapies

Endpoints/Outcome parameter

  • General health
  • Motor skills
  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive impairment

Readout parameter

  • Primary screening
  • Pole test
  • Elevated Plus Maze
  • Y-maze
  • Open Field
  • Rotarod
  • Morris Water Maze
  • Fear Conditioning
  • PhenoMaster system
  • Intellicage

Quality management and validation

  • Controls
  • Randomisation
  • Blinded data analysis
  • Standard operating procedures



  • Cynis H et al. (2016) Immunotherapy targeting pyroglutamate-3 Abeta: propects and challenges. Mol Neurodegener 11(1):48

  • Nussbaum J, Schilling S, Cynis H et al. (2012) Prion-like behaviour and tau-dependent cytotoxicity of pyroglutamylated amyloid-beta. Nature 485(7400):651-655

  • Schilling S et al. (2008) Glutaminyl cyclase inhibition attenuates pyroglutamate Abeta and Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology. Nat Med 14(10):1106-1111