Thursday, November 8, 2012

The elevated plus maze (EPM)

The elevated plus maze (EPM) is a rodent model of anxiety that is used as a screening test for putative anxiolytic or anxiogenic compounds and as a general research tool in neurobiological anxiety research.

The test setting consists of a cross (or plus) -shaped apparatus. Two of the arms are open and two are enclosed. Each has an open roof, elevated above the floor. In a typical set-up like the mouse version of the HVS Image Elevated plus maze the mice are 50 centimetres above the floor. In the rat version of the HVS Image Elevated plus maze the rodents are 80 centimetres above the floor.

The model is based on rodents' aversion of open spaces. This aversion leads to the behavior termed thigmotaxis, which involves avoidance of open areas by confining movements to enclosed spaces or to the edges of a bounded space. In elevated plus maze this is manifested as a restriction of movement of the rodent to the enclosed arms.

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