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b-neuro Services

The b-neuro laboratory

Behavioural Models of Cognition

At b-neuro, cognitive deficits are either induced by task manipulation, or by the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist phencyclidine (PCP).

Sub-chronic treatment with PCP in adult rats produces behavioural
(particularly cognitive) and neurobiological changes of relevance to the
pathophysiology and symptomatology of schizophrenia (Neill et al. 2010).

The PCP-impairment model uses adult female Lister Hooded rats sub-chronically treated with PCP (2 mg/kg i.p., twice daily for 7 days, followed by 7 days washout). Rats are subsequently tested in one of 5 tests for cognition or social behaviour, alone or in combination with microdialysis. Biomarker studies are then conducted on brain tissue. Drug candidates can be evaluated for efficacy on all or one of these three outcomes. Time delay and task manipulation-induced cognitive deficits are also provided in some of our tests.

We are experienced in all routes of drug administration. Candidate drugs can be given systemically, either acutely or sub-chronically, via the microdialysis probe or intracerebral cannulae. Systemic routes are i.p., s.c., and p.o. b-neuro will prepare blood and brain samples for subsequent pharmacokinetic analysis.

Cognitive tests

  • Reversal learning for problem solving and reasoning.
  • Attentional set shifting for executive function.
  • 5-choice continuous performance task for attention, impulsivity and compulsivity.
  • Novel object recognition for visual recognition memory.
  • Novel object recognition following a 6 hour ITI.
  • Novel object recognition with dopamine measured in the prefrontal cortex by microdialysis.
  • The 16 holeboard maze for working memory.
  • The social behaviour test for negative symptoms.

Under Development

  • The object place context task for episodic memory is currently being validated. A robust deficit is observed following a 1 hour inter-trial interval.

Neurochemical Tests

  • Immunohistochemistry of parvalbumin in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus.
  • HPLC measurement of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA).

Other Services

b-neuro also provides:

  • expert consultation
  • representation at scientific meetings
  • training for technical personnel
  • publication of key findings with collaborators