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J Vis Exp. 2009 Jan 28;(23). pii: 949. doi: 10.3791/949.

Olfactory behavioral testing in the adult mouse.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Abstract

The rodent olfactory system is of increasing interest to scientists, studied, in part, in systems biology because of its stereotyped, yet accessible circuitry. In addition, this area's unique ability to generate new neurons throughout an organism's lifetime makes it an attractive system for developmental and regenerative biologists alike. Such interest necessitates a means for a quick, yet reliable assessment of olfactory function. Many tests of olfactory ability are complex, variable or not specifically designed for mice. Also, some tests are sensitive to memory deficits as well as defects in olfactory abilities, confounding obtained results. Here, we describe a simple battery of tests designed to identify defects in olfactory sensitivity and preference. First, an initial general health assessment allows for the identification of animals suitable for further testing. Second, mice are exposed to various dilutions of scents to ascertain whether there is a threshold difference. Third, mice are presented with various scents, both attractive and aversive, that allow for the assessment of olfactory preference. These simple studies should make the initial characterization of olfactory behavior accessible for labs of varied resources and expertise.

PMID:
19229182
PMCID:
PMC2782999
DOI:
10.3791/949
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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