Passive / Active Avoidance: PACS-30

Passive / Active Avoidance: PACS-30

PACS-30 is an automated system employed in the testing of avoidance behavior. Each subject is housed within a cage that has been divided by a centrally located wall that has an opening allowing the subject to pass between the compartments. The lid of each compartment contains light stimulus and the speaker is in the center. The subject walks on a shocker grid assembly that spans the entire floor area of both compartments while a "curtain" of photocells around the central door detects transfers.

Used in the active mode, the PACS-30 is designed to condition an animal to escape an electrical shock by reacting to a light and/or sound pre-stimulus. Each trial begins with a user-defined exploration period which allows the subject to become familiar with its environment. The subject is then given either a conditioned light stimulus or sound stimulus. If the subject responds to the stimulus by transferring to the other compartment, it avoids being given an electrical shock. If the subject remains in the same compartment it is given an electrical shock until it either transfers to the other compartment or a user-defined maximum shock duration is exceeded. Multiple trials may be run consecutively following user-defined inter-trial period.

Used in the passive mode, the PACS-30 is designed to condition against an animal's desire to hide in the dark when exposed to an aversive light source. A computer controlled door is placed between the two avoidance enclosure compartments. Each trial begins with a user-defined exploration period which allows the subject to become familiar with its environment. The subject is then given a conditioned light stimulus. If the subject retreats into the darkened compartment it is given an electrical shock. The computerized door may be either set to close upon transfer, subjecting the subject to the full duration of electrical shock set by the user, or kept open allowing the subject to transfer back into the illuminated compartment avoiding further shock. lf the subject does not react to the conditioned light stimulus by transferring into the dark compartment it avoids presentation of electrical shock.

The conditioning parameters are highly flexible and can be saved to files allowing the user to store and retrieve a variety of different conditioning protocols. Among the parameters which can be set by the user are the light intensity and duration, the sound intensity, frequency and duration, the shock intensity and duration, the length of the initial exploration period, the length of the inter-trial interval and the maximum length of each trial. A comprehensive program is included that allows for configuration of all forms of avoidance testing. Data is stored in a non-editable format that can be exported as a CSV File for subsequent analysis by almost any statistical analysis software (Excel or similar).

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Features

Active Mode Parameters:

Exploration Duration:

The time allotted the subject to explore its surroundings before the trial begins. The exploration duration is in the minutes:seconds format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. Once this duration has expired the trial begins.

Maximum Trial Duration:

The maximum amount of time allotted for the trial. The trial durations parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. A trial is not complete until it has run for the duration specified by this parameter or a transfer has been made.

Inter-Trail Interval:

Allows a rest time between trials to be specified. This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. The first intertrial interval, if greater than 00:00, occurs after the first trial. Optional punishment for Inter-Trial Transfers.

Total Number of Trials:

The total number of trials to be repeated in an experiment. The maximum number of trials is 999.

CS Light Intensity:

The brightness of the light stimulus. This value can be set from 0 to 150 Lux and can be used to provide continuous background or ambient light. A Lux meter is included for calibration and validation purposes.

CS Light Start Time:

The starting time for the conditioned stimulus (CS) light. This starting time is measured as an offset from the beginning of the trial. This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. A setting of 03:00, for example, would start the light stimulus 3 minutes after the start of the trial.

CS Light Duration:

The total duration the CS light is to be enabled. This parameter is in the minutes:seconds format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59.

CS Sound Start Time:

The starting time for the conditioned stimulus (CS) sound. This starting time value represents the time from the start of the trial. This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. A setting of 03:00, for example, would start the light stimulus 3 minutes after the start of the trial.

CS Sound Frequency:

The frequency of the sound stimulus. This parameter can be set from 0.2 to 13.0 KHz in 100Hz increments.

CS Sound lntensity:

The intensity of the sound stimulus. lt can be set from mute to 115 dB. A decibel meter is included for alibration and validation of the sound cue.

CS Sound Duration:

The total duration the CS sound stimulus is to be enabled. This parameter is in the minutes:seconds format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59.

UCS Grid Start Time:

The starting time for the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) electrical shock. This starting time value represents the time from the start of the trial. This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. A setting of 03:00, for example, would start the light stimulus 3 minutes after the start of the trial.

UCS Grid lntensity:

The current flow through the subject when the electrical stimulus grid is enabled. This parameter can be set from 0.0mA to l.0mA in 0.1mA increments. A setting of 0.0mA disables the electrical stimulus grid.

UCS Grid Duration:

The total time the electrical stimulus grid is enabled if no transfer is made. This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59.

Passive Mode Parameters:

Exploration Duration:

The time allotted the subject to explore its surroundings before the trial begins. The exploration duration is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59.

CS Light Intensity:

The brightness of the light stimulus. This value can be set from 0 to 150 Lux and can be used to provide continuous background or ambient light. A Lux meter is included for calibration and validation purposes.

CS Light Start Time:

The starting time for the conditioned stimulus (CS) light. This starting time is measured as an offset from the beginning of the trial.This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. A setting of 03:00, for example, would start the light stimulus 3 minutes after the start of the trial.

Maximum Trial Duration:

The maximum amount of time allotted for the trial. The trial durations parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59.

UCS Grid lntensity:

The maximum current flow through the subject when the electrical stimulus grid is enabled. This parameter can be set from 0.0mA to l.0mA. A setting of 0.0mA disables the electrical stimulus grid.

UCS Grid Duration:

The total time the electrical stimulus grid is enabled if no transfer is made. This parameter is in the min:sec format and can be set from 00:00 to 59:59. The electrical stimulus grid is enabled only if the subject has not transferred into the opposite side and the Maximum Trial Duration has not elapsed

Close Door Upon Transfer:

Select whether the center door is to close after subject transfers to the dark side.

Inescapable Shock:

Select if you would like to punish the subject when a transfer has been made regardless of the compartment the subject resides when/if the door has been closed

Data Collected

Transfer Latency:

presented in the format mm:ss.ss referenced from these four temporal markers:
  • Start of Trial
  • Onset of Sound
  • Onset of Light
  • Onset of Shock

Transfer Scoring:

  • Avoidance - Animal transfers in advance shock presentation
  • Escape - Animal transfers during shock
  • Prelim(inary) - Animal transfers in advance of CS onset
  • No Transfer - Animal fails to relocate

Complete Systems

First Cage

1371PACS-30 Avoidance Chamber Master (inclusive of software, sound & light calibration kit)

Each Additional Station

(Connects to "Master unit above)
1372PACS-30 Avoidance Chamber Slave

Optional & Replacement Items

Consult with our service department for repair or replacement items.

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