Automated monitoring of early neurobehavioral changes in mice following traumatic brain injury

Wenrui Qu, Nai Kui Liu, Xin Min Simon Xie, Rui Li, Xiao Ming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury often causes a variety of behavioral and emotional impairments that can develop into chronic disorders. Therefore, there is a need to shift towards identifying early symptoms that can aid in the prediction of traumatic brain injury outcomes and behavioral endpoints in patients with traumatic brain injury after early interventions. In this study, we used the SmartCage system, an automated quantitative approach to assess behavior alterations in mice during an early phase of traumatic brain injury in their home cages. Female C57BL/6 adult mice were subjected to moderate controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury. The mice then received a battery of behavioral assessments including neurological score, locomotor activity, sleep/wake states, and anxiety-like behaviors on days 1, 2, and 7 after CCI. Histological analysis was performed on day 7 after the last assessment. Spontaneous activities on days 1 and 2 after injury were significantly decreased in the CCI group. The average percentage of sleep time spent in both dark and light cycles were significantly higher in the CCI group than in the sham group. For anxiety-like behaviors, the time spent in a light compartment and the number of transitions between the dark/light compartments were all significantly reduced in the CCI group than in the sham group. In addition, the mice suffering from CCI exhibited a preference of staying in the dark compartment of a dark/light cage. The CCI mice showed reduced neurological score and histological abnormalities, which are well correlated to the automated behavioral assessments. Our findings demonstrate that the automated SmartCage system provides sensitive and objective measures for early behavior changes in mice following traumatic brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-256
Number of pages9
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Automated behavior
  • Controlled cortical impact
  • Exploratory activity
  • Motor activity
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Neural regeneration
  • Sleep
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience

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