Home Cage Analyser
The activities of rodents in their home cage are almost entirely unobserved by researchers Yet these data can reveal much about both welfare and phenotype of research animals.
ActualHCA offers a true 24/7 solution, with automated monitoring of socially grouped animals in their true home-cages. Testing within the home cage is suitable for a number of interest areas, including but not limited to:
Detecting and assessing safety/toxicological effects of candidate drugs
Behavioural phenotyping of genetically altered animals
Drug efficacy studies
Studies of circadian rhythms
Studies of social interactions
Rodents establish social hierarchies and behaviours dependent on their social group. A standard within rodent research is to remove the rodent from the home-cage and place in an unfamiliar apparatus. However, tests that measure behaviour are reliant on minimising influence on the outcome.
The system is capable of collecting spatial data for each individual animal at any given point, 24/7 over a period of many months. This removes the presence of any possible experimenter bias as well as removing any environmental disturbances whilst maintaining the social grouping within the cage.
Monitoring rodents in this non-invasive manner, produces highly reproducible and robust data.
ActualHCA isn’t just a cage you can house your rodents in, it really is the true-home cage, where they establish their social groups. The system is highly compatible with modern high density individual ventilated caging (IVC) systems.
The system collects two levels of data, the first is positional and locomotive data. Rodents are subcutaneously chipped and a specially designed baseplate which contains a series of RFID antennae sits beneath the cage, the baseplate records the locomotive and positional behaviour of each individual rodent as well as their relationship to cage mates.
The second level of data collected is behavioural data, the systems camera produces high grade video and IR LED lighting is placed above the cage. Our capture software is specifically designed to automatically detect behaviour from this footage. Frame by frame the positional data from the baseplate is matched to the behavioural detection from the camera and software, the data sets are perfectly synchronised with zero drift.
The combination of the capture software, the camera and the baseplate gives you this rich set of data over long periods of time, something that has never been sustainable with manual observation.