SHIRPA and dysmorphology were originally always separate assessments. However they have recently been combined as assessments, so that they take place at the same time.
The purpose of the assessments is to examine mice for obvious physical characteristics, behaviors and morphological abnormalities.
Descriptions include abnormal locomotion/appearance/behavior/reflex reactions.
- Minimum number of animals : 4M + 4F
- Age at test: Week 9
- Sex: We would expect the results of this test to show sexual dimorphism
- SHIRPA arena
- Click Box
- Tube for contact righting
- Photo and/or video camera
- Allow the mice to acclimatise to the phenotyping room for a period of 15 minutes prior to testing.
- Throughout the test, note any vocalisation, aggression, salivation or unexpected behaviours.
- Assess limb grasping/trunk curl and positional passivity by picking up the mouse by the tail. Trunk curl must only be recorded if the mouse curls forward without twisting its body, bending to one side is not scored as a trunk curl.
- Transfer the mouse to one end of the arena from a height of ~25 cm
- Allow the mouse to move freely around the arena whilst being observed for gait and tail elevation.
- To perform the startle response, hold the click box 30 cm above the mouse and wait for it to stop moving before administering the stimulus.
- Transfer the mouse to the grid placed on top of the clean cage and score reflexes.
- Allow the mouse to enter a small transparent tube. Gently rotate the tube 180o so the mouse is fully upside down and record if the mouse rights itself.
- Perform a systematic morphological assessment and record any abnormalities.
- If wiping down with ethanol prior to the use of equipment, make sure no ethanol residue remains as the ethanol may affect the behaviour of the animals.
- The validity of results obtained from behavioural phenotyping is largely dependent on methods of animal husbandry. It is important that individuals following this procedure are experienced and aware of the animal’s welfare, and is familiar with the animal being tested, in order to reduce the anxiety levels of the animal prior to testing.
- The majority of mouse behavioural studies are age/sex/strain dependent. It is important to keep these parameters comparable throughout a single experiment.
- Environmental factors may contribute to the levels of anxiety within the mouse. The temperature, humidity, ventilation, noise intensity and light intensity must be maintained at levels appropriate for mice. It is essential that the mice be kept in a uniform environment before and after testing to avoid anomalous results being obtained.
- It is recommended that all phenotyping experimentation is conducted at approximately the same time of day because physiological and biochemical parameters change throughout the day.
- When a number of mice are tested continuously, residual odours from the equipment used in the preceding test may affect the test results. The floor and walls of the arena, ruler, and metal net should be wiped clean before introducing the next mouse. To prevent infection, the equipment should be washed with water at the completion of the day's tests. Some specific pathogen-free facilities use ultraviolet irradiation when tests are not being performed. Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that ultraviolet irradiation does not crack any acrylate equipment covered with residual alcohol.