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Neurotoxicology. 2000 Dec;21(6):989-96.

The functional observational battery in adult and developing rats.

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  • National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA. moser.ginger@epa.gov


Neurobehavioral screening methods, such as the functional observational battery (FOB), are now widely used to identify potential neurotoxicity of new and existing chemicals. These methods have been validated and a large database now exists for the effects of a wide range of chemicals. Since most of the observations recorded are subjective, the quality of the test data depends largely on the observer's ability to detect and describe changes in the animal's behavior and neurologic function. Efforts are underway to aid in the training of observers and to achieve consistency across laboratories in the use of these methods. With the increasing concern over potential neurotoxicological consequences of chemical exposure in the developing organism, there is growing interest in testing laboratory animals at very young ages. We present here an initial report of the development of an FOB suitable for young rats, using some modifications of the individual adult FOB test measures to make them age-appropriate. We have evaluated pre- and postweanling rats to determine the range of behaviors (as evaluated with the FOB) displayed at each age, develop appropriate scoring criteria, and collect control data to document the ontogeny of each of the endpoints in the FOB. This revised FOB protocol may be useful for assessing behavioral or neurological changes due to acute chemical exposure in young rats, or following gestational/lactational exposures typical of developmental neurotoxicity studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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