Comparison of visual acuity measurements in c57bl6/j mice using two different behavioral assesment tasks

Nalça, İrem
Investigation of physiology, pharmacology, and genetics of vision in animal models requires development of experimental procedures allowing for a reliable behavioral assessment of visual skills. In the present study, two different behavioral assessment tasks to measure visual acuity in C57BL6/J mice were applied and compared. Both tasks were performed in a trapezoidal-shaped pool, with two computer-controlled monitors placed side-by-side at one end of the pool, and with an invisible platform located under the monitor presenting vertical grating of different spatial frequencies. The purpose of the first task was to revisit Prusky's method of assessing visual acuity with an arbitrary discrimination criterion of 70% correct responses (Prusky et al., 2000). The second task investigated a potential improvement of visual acuity by repeated visual discrimination training to an arbitrary performance criterion of 75% correct responses. The visual acuity threshold for our strain of C57BL6/J mice as assessed by Prusky’s method was at 0.43 cpd. In the second task, all animals performed above the arbitrary discrimination level on all tested spatial frequencies up to 0.86 cpd. Our results show that repeated visual discrimination training procures a substantial enhancement in the visual acuity of adult mice suggesting that visual cortex retains its capability for activity-dependent neuroplasticity throughout the adulthood. The data analysis confirmed that the percent of correct choices and the escape latency are reliable indices for the behavioral assessment of visual functions with methods similar to ours. To understand how repeated visual discrimination training procures visual acuity enhancement, the accompanied morphological and physiological changes in the visual cortex should be investigated.
Citation Formats
İ. Nalça, “Comparison of visual acuity measurements in c57bl6/j mice using two different behavioral assesment tasks,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2014.