RAPC is a behavioural monitoring apparatus designed to completely automate the assessment of spatial learning and memory in mice. RAPC enhances the accuracy of recording temporal measurements and error scoring, during spatial learning and memory experiments, through the use of electronic sensors.
The RAPC apparatus consists of a rectangular acrylic chamber with the ‘start box’ and reward compartment at opposite ends. The chamber is divided into five compartments of equal size, separated by four transparent panels, each equipped with three electronically-monitored, one-way doors. An animal successfully progresses through the apparatus, beginning in the ‘start box’ and subsequently passing through each chamber on its way to the reward chamber. In the progression from one chamber to the next, the animal is confronted with a choice of which door to open. Errors are scored for attempting to open a locked door (doors are locked and opened manually).
The distinctive and flexible RAPC design allows the system to be used with a positive reinforcement-based operant paradigm, with alternating learning and performance components during each experiment session (different auditory stimuli signal which component is currently in effect). This unique, positive-reinforcement based paradigm allows the researcher to evaluate learning, versus rote performance, on a within-subject and within-behavioural-test-session basis.
RAPC connects to a PC via USB and experiments are performed using the ANY-maze software.
- No cables inside the chamber – door sensors are mounted in the base
- Photobeams detect when the animal leaves the start chamber and when it completes the test
- Automated data collection results in high throughput and data collection accuracy
- A single PC can collect data from up to 16 chambers simultaneously
- ANY-maze automatically configures the experiments
- ANY-maze controls the experiment flow, data collection and statistical analysis
- Acrylic construction allows for easy animal observation