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Brain Res Brain Res Protoc. 2004 Feb;12(3):180-5.

Bite force measurement in awake rats.

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1
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore School of Dentistry, 666 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Abstract

This report describes the implementation of bite force measurement in awake rats and software instruments (Spike 2 script programs) that quantify and analyze the bite force data. One script program employs user-defined control of threshold bite force, which allows an easy adjustment of target force prior to training the rat. Furthermore, the interactive program allows on-line control of threshold bite force at anytime during the training session. Upon detection of the bite force crossing the threshold, it automatically triggers the external water delivery system for reinforcement. Another script program detects successful biting attempts, compiles times stamps and force level for each attempted bite, and calculates the total number of bites, success rate and mean bite force per training session. Using the new methodology, we trained five adult rats to produce the bite force of 1300 g. Our results demonstrated that all rats achieved the target force with a similar time course and exhibited little variability in success rate and mean bite force. The script programs provided instant review and analyses of the captured data. These techniques simplify assessment of bite force in behaving rats.

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