A robust automated system elucidates mouse home cage behavioral structure

Evan H. Goulding, A. Katrin Schenk, Punita Juneja, Adrienne W. MacKay, Jennifer M. Wade, Laurence H. Tecott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Patterns of behavior exhibited by mice in their home cages reflect the function and interaction of numerous behavioral and physiological systems. Detailed assessment of these patterns thus has the potential to provide a powerful tool for understanding basic aspects of behavioral regulation and their perturbation by disease processes. However, the capacity to identify and examine these patterns in terms of their discrete levels of organization across diverse behaviors has been difficult to achieve and automate. Here, we describe an automated approach for the quantitative characterization of fundamental behavioral elements and their patterns in the freely behaving mouse. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by identifying unique features of home cage behavioral structure and changes in distinct levels of behavioral organization in mice with single gene mutations altering energy balance. The robust, automated, reproducible quantification of mouse home cage behavioral structure detailed here should have wide applicability for the study of mammalian physiology, behavior, and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20575-20582
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 30 2008


  • Circadian
  • Ingestion
  • Obesity
  • Phenotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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