Quantified tracking and monitoring of diazepam treated socially housed cynomolgus monkeys

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Quantitative assessment of behavioural patterns is frequently used in rodent toxicity studies, however only limited approaches are available for monkeys. Often qualitative behavioural scoring using functional observation batteries (FOBs) is performed, with difficulties like poor reproducibility or lack of sensitivity. In this study, we investigated whether quantitative behavioural monitoring can be applied to group-housed cynomolgus monkeys. Video-tracking EthoVision® XT system and special analysis software were used to evaluate diazepam (i.v. 1 mg/kg) related behavioural changes in group-housed animals. Recordings were made predose and at the anticipated time of maximum drug exposure (Tmax). General parameters such as distance travelled and velocity did not reveal the known sedative effects of diazepam. However, inspection of the automatically generated track images indicated that diazepam-treated animals had more a meandering movement pattern suggesting that diazepam induced a loss of balance which was regained by corrective movements. Therefore, parameters revealing specific aspects of the meandering movement pattern such as velocity profiles and turn angles have been analyzed and revealed an increase in the curvature and in the number of directional changes of the movement path.

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