The Mobile HomeCage®

The Mobile HomeCage combines a stable head fixation with a flat-floored air-lifted mouse cage. It allows using precise optical and electrophysiological techniques, such as two-photon imaging or patch-clamp, in the brain or spinal cord of awake naturally behaving mice.

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      The Mobile HomeCage is a combination of a stable head-fixation with a two-dimensional treadmill. Unlike on a conventional treadmill, mice control their movement’s trajectory and speed. They also decide whether to move or stay still. The researchers have an option to track the locomotion patterns.

      Options

      • The Mobile HomeCage (NRT000251-05) for stable head fixation during active locomotion;
      • The Mobile HomeCage with locomotion tracking capabilities (NTR000289-01) for behavioral monitoring during imaging and recording in the brain or spinal cord of awake behaving mice.

      Key benefits

      • Stable head-fixation during active locomotion;
      • No general anesthesia during training or experiments;
      • Cage has flat floor and walls: it resembles laboratory mice’ natural habitat and helps to reduce stress;
      • Walls are a source of natural tactile stimulation;
      • Fast habituation;
      • Behavioral monitoring during imaging and recordings;
      • Visual stimulation (from within and outside the cage) is possible but not required;
      • Compatible with VR;
      • Compact;
      • Technical and experimental support from Neurotar (free).

      Applications

      • acute and chronic two-photon imaging in the brain and spinal cord;
      • wide-field imaging;
      • functional ultrasound imaging (fUS);
      • optical coherent tomography (OCT);
      • electrophysiological recordings, including patch-clamp;
      • optogenetic stimulation;
      • behavioral monitoring combined with all of the above techniques.

      Compatibility

      The standard size Mobile HomeCage is compact and compatible with the majority of commercial two-photon microscopes. For additional information on compatibility assessment, stages and air sources, please read our guide to compatibility.

      Technical specifications

      • Dimensions: 420 X 300 X 159 mm
      • Unpackaged weight: 5,5 kg / 5,7 kg (with tracking)
      • Materials: aluminum, carbon fiber

      Mobile HomeCage kit composition

      A standard Mobile HomeCage® kit has everything you need to start using the system:

      Kit partsOptions that do not affect the priceMobile HomeCageMobile HomeCage with
      tracking capabilities
      Air dispenserXX
      Bridge and towers with adjustable horizontal and vertical positioningstandard or short towersXX
      Head fixation block: neck and rotating clamp clamp options: standard, tilted, elongated, Levelt, fUSXX
      Ten head plates for cranial surgery implantation same model or an assortment (choose form 12 models)XX
      Carbon fiber cage (diameter: 180 mm)wall height: 20, 40, 70 mm
      XX
      Hose for connecting to air source (diameter: 12 mm; length 3 m)XX
      Electronic control unit (ECU)X
      Sensor board built into the air dispenserX
      RS-232 cableX
      USB connector cable (A to B)X
      Six magnetic tracking matsX
      Open source softwareX

      The transparent cage is not included in the standard kit.

      Airflow

      The air source is not included in the Mobile HomeCage kit. Airflow requirements: 120 L/min at 20 kPa. Most labs are able to use their local air supplies; some require portable air pumps. Compressed air tanks are not optimal as they run out of air very quickly. Contact us for tips on portable air pumps.

      Parts and accessories

      Our online accessories shop has variable kit parts, such as head plates, and cages, upgrades, such as locomotion tracking, and a wide range of accessories for spinal cord imaging, behavioral research, and operating conditioning.

      Maintenance

      The Mobile HomeCage® is easy to use and it requires minimal maintenance. The carbon fiber cages can be cleaned with a 70% ethanol solution. The head plates are reusable. Learn how to reuse them in our guide to head plates. The air dispenser must be protected from dust and water penetrating inside through the air holes.

      References and support

      You are not alone. Our support team provides both technical and experimental support. Besides that: dozens of labs worldwide are using the Mobile HomeCage. Learn from them or get help from us!

      All Mobile HomeCage® patents and trademarks are the property of Neurotar. Unauthorized use and distribution are strictly prohibited.