Bilateral Chemical Labyrinthectomy Disrupts Exploratory Behavior in Mice
Banovetz, Mark T., 1998--
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Animals use multiple sources of information to maintain spatial orientation, including self-movement and environmental cues. Self-movement cues are processed by the vestibular system, and animals with congenital vestibular defects exhibit impairments in self-movement cue processing but not environmental cue processing. No study currently exists to examine the exploratory behavior of mice following complete bilateral vestibular lesions. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of bilateral chemical labyrinthectomies on mouse exploratory behavior under dark and light conditions at two time points. Motion tracking software was used to capture mouse exploratory behavior, such as path circuity and change in heading. Persistent deficits were observed in mice with vestibular lesions. Mice with bilateral vestibular lesions engaged in more circuitous paths and higher changes in directional heading between progressions at each time point and under dark and light conditions. This study demonstrates the important role that the vestibular system has in organizing the exploratory behavior of mice.