2011 年 61 巻 1 号 p. 33-42
We here introduce characteristic features of the novel behavioral tests, named Flavor Map and IntelliCage, recently developed to elucidate how maternal exposure to environmental chemicals affects executive brain functions in rats and mice. Flavor Map test requires rats to learn the existence of a schema of paired-associate of flavor and location, and enables to examine the short-term memory, long-term memory and paired-associative learning ability in adult rats. We have found that maternal exposure to a low dose of dioxin causes deficit in the paired-associative memory formation. Using the IntelliCage system, we have developed our own test protocol in mice. IntelliCage is versatile in terms of accommodation of as many as 16 mice at a time to monitor and record their basic physical activities and learning function. Our protocol successfully increases the efficiency of detection of the learning behavior with minimal variations between individual mice. We found that male mice born to dioxin-administered dams develop less behavioral flexibility. We believe that these behavioral tests can be used to study the executive functions in rats and mice, in biomedical research fields not only in toxicological study but also in animal psychology.