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Exploring New Options In Sleep Research

Webinar: Noninvasive Method For Studying Sleep In Rodents

Sleep is critical to health and yet is rarely measured in animal models. This webinar highlights a noninvasive method for studying sleep in rodents. Topics covered include 3Rs, user experience, automation, and data analysis.

Sleep research has historically focused on the basic functions and regulation of sleep, and genes that influence sleep. As details of the relationship between sleep, health and disease have become clear, sleep studies are of increasing interest to researchers beyond the sleep field. The availability of user friendly technology provides a platform to easily incorporate sleep behavior into disease models and relevant applications, as well as provides a simpler method for investigating basic sleep functions.

In an exclusive webinar sponsored by Signal Solutions LLC, Dr. Bruce O’Hara will discuss methodology, best-practices and use studies of the PiezoSleep system. Discussions will focus on how these techniques can answer questions about animal behavior, phenotyping and relationships between sleep and disease. Dr. O’Hara will review methodology and measurement techniques while highlighting the benefits of the PiezoSleep system that can assess sleep, wake and breathing variables.

The webinar is THURSDAY, FEB 16, 2017
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST (UTC-5)

Interested attendees can sign up here: PiezoSleep Inside Scientific Webinar Registration 

Key topics covered during this webinar will include…

  • The importance of sleep to health and disease
  • How different physiological outputs can be used to track sleep
  • Benefits of noninvasive sleep studies
  • Setting up a Noninvasive Sleep Study
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Use study: How noninvasive methods enhance research

PiezoSleep Behavior Tracking System

Signal Solutions, LLC novel and patented technology allows researchers the ability to monitor sleep/wake states in mice in a completely non-invasive way; eliminating the need for technical expertise fro surgical procedures and scoring collected data. The PiezoSleep system self-scores sleep/wake states. The system software allows for easy access and interaction with collected data.

The PiezoSleep system is an alternative to traditional EEG-based systems for monitoring sleep/wake activity in mice. Systems can be scaled from a single cage to 64 cages on a single SquidBox (signal processor). Multiple SquidBoxes can be incorporated for scaling beyond 64 cages. All PiezoSleep cages are custom and include all hardware/software for a true turn-key start.

The Sleep-Wake Behavior Tracking System has been deployed in multiple sleep phenotyping efforts in mice, including:

  • école supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI Paris Tech)
  • Helmholtz Zentrum München (The German Mouse Clinic)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Oxford University
  • Smith College
  • SRI International
  • Stanford University
  • The Jackson Laboratory
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center
  • University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
  • Washington State University
  • Weill Medical College of Cornell University
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Yale

Additional systems are being implemented on an ongoing basis. Contact Signal Solutions, LLC for more information and get a quote on a system that suits your project goals.

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Non-invasive Alternatives For Sleep Phenotyping in Mice

The EEG Rodent Dilemma

Research involving rodent sleep behavior and phenotyping typically require costly surgical procedures involving the implantation of cranial electrodes in a method referred to as electroencephalography (EEG). EEG, used in combination with Electromyography (EMG), provides data to distinguish sleep/wake states of mice.

How EEG and EMG works in mouse

EEG/EMG Mouse Model

EEG-based studies are invasive procedures requiring extended lengths of time for the rodent to recover, EEG equipment and medications to prevent infections and reduce pain, and higher rates of rodent mortality. Most of these tests require manual scoring; meaning a researcher must manually track, record and decipher the EEG/EMG data.

Since most research is conducted using a wired EEG tether, natural rodent behaviors may be restricted or “tether-based” which results in confounding variables that impact results.

While wireless (non-tethered) EEG systems exist, the signal quality is typically worse, and all of the other problems with EEG/EMG still exist (surgery, recovery, head-mount weight that inhibits mouse movement, human scoring of records, and thus very high labor cost and time bottlenecks).

Non-invasive Approach to EEG-based Sleep Phenotyping

Signal Solutions, LLC has addressed both issues brought about by traditional EEG studies. There are no invasive procedures on the rodent and no mortality from stress or infection. The PiezoSleep® Mouse Behavioral Tracking System relies on proprietary software and hardware technology to deliver the same accuracy as invasive implanted EEG telemetry without traditional costs and complications.

Non-invasive Mouse Sleep Studies

Non-invasive sleep phenotyping for mice

With PiezoSleep®, researchers can scale from one to unlimited arrays of cages and rodents, acquire data, and provide automated scoring. The complete system relies on technology which detects mouse movement via a piezoelectric pad.

Sleep/wake states are determined and scored based on advanced algorithms developed by University of Kentucky Professors and top industry engineers at Signal Solutions, LLC. The prototype cages and software were beta tested in early 2002. The response from early system testers proved overwhelmingly positive. The cages and software, now in commercial production, are in use on a global scale.

In fact, The PiezoSleep® Mouse Behavioral Tracking System was an integral part of The Jackson Laboratory phenotyping pipeline for the large scale study of knockout mice (mice with a single gene mutated and made non-functional).

Coordinated by the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), an international coalition will produce and phenotype a total of 5,000 knockout mice by 2016. The National Institutes of Health has funded three “KOMP2” centers in the United States, including the largest at The Jackson Laboratory, to work together on the immense task of producing and phenotyping these mice.

Sleep and wake traits are examined in knockout mice at 15 weeks of age, and these traits have proven to be among the most valuable within the entire pipeline (see below). The Jackson Laboratory KOMP Phenotyping Center is a member of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium.

Signal Solutions’ PiezoSleep system was chosen as part of their large-scale high-throughput phenotyping pipeline to contribute to basic understanding of gene functions in sleep, in addition to other traits related to a range of morphological, physiological and behavioral traits including disease relevant parameters pertaining to Neurobehavioral, metabolic, immune, cardiovascular, sensory, and musculoskeletal systems. Sleep characteristics are evaluated in knock-out mice at 15 weeks of age at The Jackson Phenotyping Center:

To date, over 20% of the genes analyzed at The Jackson Laboratory affect some characteristic of sleep (over 40 genes to date).

Signal Solutions helped The Jackson Laboratory manage, analyze and archive the datasets pertaining to sleep in the phenotyping pipeline over the past five years. Genes affecting sleep identified using the PiezoSleep system by The Jackson Laboratory are being added to the IMPC database and can be viewed at http://www.mousephenotype.org/

As time goes on, Signal Solutions continues to innovate and create non-invasive alternatives to traditional animal research. These innovations are targeted at lowering overall cost-of-entry for researchers, reducing complexity via automated scoring and allowing for a more humane means of data acquisition in a laboratory setting.