Defensive Responses to Predator Threat in the Rat and Mouse
Defensive responses include an array of specific behaviors, including flight, freezing, risk assessment, and defensive threat/attack, that are elicited by unconditioned threat stimuli such as predators or predator odors. Some individual defensive behaviors are selectively responsive to drugs effective against generalized anxiety disorder or panic, providing a rationale for their use in investigation of compounds that may be useful in treating these disorders. In addition, defensive behaviors toward predators and some predator odors show rapid conditioning to contextual stimuli, whereas other predator odors do not, although they too elicit defensiveness. This pattern suggests that the ability of a predator odor to predict danger may be a determinant of the degree to which that odor supports aversive conditioning. Predators and predator odors are also increasingly used in studies of brain systems potentially related to emotionality. These factors indicate the need for selective, reliable, and convenient tests of defensiveness to predators and predator odors using rat and mouse subjects.
Keywords: defensive behavior; cat exposure; cat odor; defensive conditioning; anxiety
Table of Contents
- Basic Protocol 1: Use of Mouse Defense Test Battery (MDTB) to Test Defensive Behaviors of Mice To an Anesthetized Rat
- Basic Protocol 2: Use of Rat Exposure Test (RET) to Evaluate Mouse Defensive Responses to a Live Rat
- Basic Protocol 3: Testing Rat Defensive Responses to Cat Odor and Conditioning to Associated Contextual Stimuli
- Alternate Protocol 1: Use of Cat Odor to Elicit a Range of Defensive Behaviors when a Hiding Area is Available
- Literature Cited
Basic Protocol 1: Use of Mouse Defense Test Battery (MDTB) to Test Defensive Behaviors of Mice To an Anesthetized Rat
Basic Protocol 2: Use of Rat Exposure Test (RET) to Evaluate Mouse Defensive Responses to a Live Rat
Basic Protocol 3: Testing Rat Defensive Responses to Cat Odor and Conditioning to Associated Contextual Stimuli
Alternate Protocol 1: Use of Cat Odor to Elicit a Range of Defensive Behaviors when a Hiding Area is Available
Figure 8.19.2 This photograph shows flight, which is locomotion directed away from the oncoming threat source.
Figure 8.19.3 This photograph shows risk assessment behavior. During the chase, subject stops, then orients its head towards the hand‐held rat.
Figure 8.19.5 This photograph shows a typical escape attempt. Following the removal of the rat from the runway cage, subject attempts to escape from the place where it has been confronted with the threatening stimulus.
Figure 8.19.7 Each cat odor apparatus is a 100 × 15 × 50–cm white Plexiglas box, with the front wall of clear Plexiglas to allow videotaping. The compartment is divided by lines on the floor into three segments, each 33.3 cm in length.
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|Yang, M., Augustsson, H., Markham, C.M., Hubbard, D.T., Webster, D., Wall, P.M., Blanchard, R.J., and Blanchard, D.C. 2004. The rat exposure test: A model of mouse defensive behaviors. Physiol. Behav. 8:465‐473.|
|Blanchard et al., 2003a. See above.|
|Provides a general review of the development of the MDTB and reviews the effects of 70+ drugs in this procedure.|
|Dielenberg and McGregor, 2001. See above|
|Provides a general review of cat odor tests and findings, with particular attention to the development and use of the cat odor test with hide box.|
|Yang et al., 2004. See above|
|Describes procedures and measures of the RET and compares effects of two inbred and two outbred mouse strains in this test.|
|Blanchard et al., 2003b. See above|
|Describes procedures and measures for the cat odor test and compares conditioning for cat fur/skin odor, cat feces, and TMT in this test.|