An RFID-based activity tracking system to monitor individual rodent behavior in environmental enrichment: Implications for post-stroke cognitive recovery.


Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, University of Ottawa, ON, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Diminished cognitive flexibility is a common form of executive dysfunction that results from stroke in the prefrontal cortex. Potential therapies targeting this type of cognitive deficit following stroke are lacking.
UNASSIGNED : Here, we used environmental enrichment (EE) as a rehabilitation approach, integrated with a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based activity tracking system to evaluate the contribution of individual EE elements to promote cognitive recovery. Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats received either sham surgery or endothelin-1 (ET-1) induced focal ischemia targeting the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Cognitive flexibility was assessed through an egocentric-spatial version of the Morris Water Maze (MWM) task.
RESULTS : Prefrontal cortex damage resulted in impaired reversal learning using the egocentric MWM and reduced physical activity in the running wheel, while social interaction was not affected. EE exposure (2 h/day, 5 days/week, for 5 weeks) improved cognitive flexibility in reversal learning of egocentric MWM for both stroke and sham rats.
UNASSIGNED : As changes in cognition post-stroke can be subtle and difficult to detect using conventional behavioural assessment, we suggest that the implementation of individualized automated animal tracking as used herein will ultimately help decipher whether individual components of EE are important for promoting cognitive recovery post-stroke.
CONCLUSIONS : This study represents an attempt to better align preclinical and clinical implementations of EE and facilitate the uptake of this intervention in the clinical setting.


Behaviour,Cognitive flexibility,Environmental enrichment,Medial prefronatal cortex,Morris water maze,RFID,Stroke,Stroke recovery,Tracking,