Abstract # 4237 Event # 105:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012 11:45 AM-12:00 PM: Session 16 (3rd Floor All Space) Oral Presentation


USE OF COMPUTERIZED OPERANT BEHAVIOR TESTING FOR EVALUATING SURGICAL RECOVERY IN AFRICAN GREEN MONKEYS (CHLOROCEBUS AETHIOPS SABEUS)

J. R. Makar and T. M. Myers
United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Neurobehavioral Toxicology Branch, Analytical Toxicology Division,, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010, USA
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     Operant testing has long been valued in the fields of pharmacology/toxicology, physiology, and neuroscience. Less well recognized is the potential for such behavioral analyses to improve animal welfare by providing quantitative, objective measures of behavioral responding to index overall comfort and health. Hamilton, Cox, and Myers (2011) recently demonstrated that a previously trained operant touch screen could index discomfort from injury and, moreover, guide veterinary treatments by providing daily feedback on treatment and healing. Thus, changes in previously trained operant performances can index the onset and degree of pain and provide objective measures for continuing, modifying, or discontinuing pain medication(s). In the present research, eight African green monkeys were trained on two distinct operant tasks: a delayed match-to-sample task testing visual recognition memory and a fixed-ratio reaction-time task testing response speed and motivation. After reaching stable performance, each animal underwent surgical implantation of a telemetric EEG/EKG transmitter. Performance decrement in response latency and accuracy and the time required for pre-surgical performance recovery was monitored. Rate of behavioral recovery varied across individuals and faster recovery appeared correlated with faster surgery (down from 6 to 3 hr on average). Thus, automated operant behavioral tests can provide quantitative indexes of comfort and health before and after surgery in nonhuman primates and may assist in refining surgical procedures and/or post-operative medications. All procedures were conducted within an IACUC-approved protocol.