Locomotor response to Novelty test

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Locomotor responses to novelty is an animal index of exploration/anxiety that has been shown to represent a predictive factor for the addictive properties of drug or animal vulnerable to drug.

Indeed, in an animal model for vulnerability to drug abuse, animals that exhibit greater motor activity in a novel environment (high responders; HR) are found more sensitive to drugs of abuse and are more likely to self-administer these drugs compared to less reactive animals (low responders; LR). In the light of clinical evidence on comorbidity between drug abuse and mood disorders, this model is widely used to investigate whether individual differences in locomotor reactivity to novelty are related to anxiety- and depression-like responsiveness in rodents.

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Reasons for choosing this test

  • Explore novelty-seeking behaviors
  • Free exploration paradigm
  • Test maximizing avoidance/anxiety-related behavior respect to approach/exploratory behavior
  • Only one exposure (no habituation) and quickly realized
  • Easy-to-do (for inexperienced users)
  • Sensitive for both rats and mice

Reasons for not choosing this test

  • Anxiogenic conditions (novel environment with no possibility of escape)
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