Determination of motor activity and anxiety-related behaviour in rodents: methodological aspects and role of nitric oxide

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In various areas of the bio-medical, pharmacological and psychological research a multitude of behavioural tests have been used to investigate the effects of environmental, genetic and epi-genetic factors as well as pharmacological substances or diseased states on behaviour and thus on the physiological and psycho-social status of experimental subjects. This article is reviewing the most frequently used behavioural tests in animal research (open field, elevated plus maze, zero maze, and black and white box). It provides a summary of common characteristics as well as differences in the methods used in various studies to determine motor activity, anxiety and emotionality. Additionally to methodological aspects, strain, sex and stress-related differences as well as the involvement of nitric oxide in modulation of motor activity and anxiety of rodents were briefly reviewed.

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