An instrumented centrifuge for studying mouse locomotion and behaviour under hypergravity

Smith, B J H and Usherwood, J R (2019) An instrumented centrifuge for studying mouse locomotion and behaviour under hypergravity. Biology Open, 8.

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Abstract

Gravity may influence multiple aspects of legged locomotion, from the periods of limbs moving as pendulums to the muscle forces required to support the body. We present a system for exposing mice to hypergravity using a centrifuge and studying their locomotion and activity during exposure. Centrifuge-induced hypergravity has the advantages that it both allows animals to move freely, and it affects both body and limbs. The centrifuge can impose two levels of hypergravity concurrently, using two sets of arms of different lengths, each carrying a mouse cage outfitted with a force and speed measuring exercise wheel and an infrared high-speed camera; both triggered automatically when a mouse begins running on the wheel. Welfare is monitored using infrared cameras. As well as detailing the design of the centrifuge and instrumentation, we present example data from mice exposed to multiple levels of hypergravity and details of how they acclimatized to hypergravity.