Wireless, freely behaving rodent cage helps scientists collect more reliable data

The Georgia Tech EnerCage (Energized Cage) system is created for scientific experiments on awake, freely behaving small animals. It wirelessly powers electronic devices and sensors traditionally used during rodent research experiments, but without the use of interconnect wires or bulky batteries. Their goal is to create as natural an environment within the cage as possible for mice and rats in order for scientists to obtain consistent and reliable results.

Emory's Donald (Tig) Rainnie and his research team use freely moving rodent models to examine the effects of DBS on neural circuits thought to be disrupted in depression. They have tested the EnerCage system.

"The requirement to use a tethered headstage to record neural data and apply the DBS has hindered progress in this field," said Rainnie, a researcher at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. "We provided critical feedback, via beta testing of the EnerCage system, on how to maximize the utility of the system for different behavioral applications. We found a key advantage of the EnerCage system is that it will allow researchers to conduct chronic DBS and track associated behavioral changes for days, if not weeks, without disturbing the test animals." Dr. Rainnie is a member of the NS program.

Until now, Rainnie says, that hasn't been possible, and it is key to understanding the long-term benefits of DBS in patients.

Click here to view the full story in Science Daily.