2020 Volume 69 Issue 1 Pages 62-69
Pigs are often selected for large animal models including for neuroscience and behavioral research, because their anatomy and biochemistry are similar to those of humans. However, behavioral assessments, in combination with objective long-term monitoring, is difficult. In this study, we introduced an automated video tracking system which was previously used in rodent studies, for use with pig models. Locomotor behaviors (total distance, number of zone transitions, and velocity) were evaluated and their changes were validated by different 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) administration methods and dosing regimens. Three minipigs (23–29 kg) received subcutaneous or intravenous MPTP, either 1 or 3 times per week. Immediately after MPTP injection, the minipigs remained in a corner and exhibited reduced trajectory. In addition, the total distance travelled, number of zone transitions, and velocity were greatly reduced at every MPTP administration in all the minipigs, accompanying to increased resting time. However, the MPTP-induced symptoms were reversed when MPTP administration was terminated. In conclusion, this automated video-tracking system was able to monitor long-term locomotor activity and differentiate detailed alterations in large animals. It has the advantages of being easy to use, higher resolution, less effort, and more delicate tracking. Additionally, as our method can be applied to the animals’ home pen, no habituation is needed.