The key to automating the elevated plus-maze is to detect zone entries and exits with precision
ANY-maze’s whole body tracking provides this feature, which together with flexible results analysis, make ANY-maze an ideal system for plus-maze work - see the Benefits tab, below, to learn more.
On the other tabs you'll find some videos of real plus-maze tests, as well as details of recommended equipment and a list of results that are especially useful in this test.
ANY-maze’s whole body tracking allows you to specify precisely when an arm entry should be scored.
For example, specifying an open-arm entry as occurring when 80% of the animal’s body is in the arm, equates very well with the traditional four-paws-in-the-arm rule.
Watch the video on the right to see this in action.
What to do about the centre zone?
Exactly how entries into the centre zone of the plus-maze should be scored is a source of some controversy. ANY-maze doesn’t force you to score entries in any particular way – rather it allows you to define exactly when the system should consider the animal is the centre.
Another area where opinions differ about the plus-maze test is precisely how to calculate the percentage of time in the open (or closed) arms.
Some researchers choose to include the time in the centre in this calculation, while others ignore the centre.
In ANY-maze, you can define this measure in whatever way you prefer (the image on the right shows one way to calculate it), and if you change your mind ANY-maze will immediately re-calculate the results accordingly.
Getting more from your data
In ANY-maze you can alter the definition of your zones (or indeed almost anything else) at any time, whether before, during or after you’ve run your tests.
For example, some researchers report the amount of time the animal spends on the ends of the open arms. If you ran a plus-maze experiment without including this zone, you could simply add it afterwards.
Viewing the animal's track
ANY-maze can plot the animal’s track as a line or as a heat map.
Heat maps, indicate how much time the animal spent in different parts of the apparatus and can either show data for individual tests (as shown here) or averaged data for different groups.
In this example, we can see that the animal spent most time at the exit of the closed arms.
ANY-maze can provide literally hundreds of results for any test, but some of those that are commonly used in the plus-maze include:
- Time in the open arms
- Time in the closed arms
- Time in the centre arms
- Number of entries into the open arms
- Number of entries into the closed arms
- Total distance travelled
- Percentage of time in the open arms
Tracking a dark mouse in an unevenly
In this plus-maze there is very low contrast between the animal and the background of the closed arms. Despite this (and the overall poor quality of the recording) ANY-maze still tracks reliably and accurately detects the animal’s entries and exits to the arms using whole body tracking – which as can be seen, approximates well to the four-paws-in-the-arm rule.
Tracking a white rat with a dark skull cap in a white plus-maze
In this example a white rat, which has been fitted with a dark skull cap, is tracked in a white plus-maze. The skull cap provides a much higher contrast target than the animal, but ANY-maze correctly tracks the entire animal and accurately uses whole body tracking to detect arm entries – once again closely mirroring the traditional four-paws-in-the-arm rule.
We manufacture our own plus-mazes, both for Rat and Mouse. The walls of the closed arms simply lift off for easy cleaning and the entire maze is mounted on detachable legs which provide convenience for storage.View more
The ANY-maze USB camera is an excellent choice for the plus-maze. We recommend fitting this camera with a varifocal (zoom) lens, so you can simply mount the camera on the ceiling and then zoom in and out until the maze nicely fits the camera's view.View more
A webcam is usually a good, and inexpensive, alternative choice for the plus-maze. If you intend to test in normal lighting conditions (>= 100 lux) and you can mount the camera far enough from the maze for it to see it all, then a webcam should work well.
If you intend to track in low light (< 10 lux) or in darkness, then you may wish to use an infrared illuminator and an infrared sensitive camera (most cameras are IR sensitive).View more
ANY‑maze Radio remote control
The ANY‑maze Radio remote control provides a convenient way to start the test as soon as the animal is in the maze. This remote works through walls and has 2 buttons, allowing you to control two apparatus independently.View more
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