In order to ensure the welfare of the laboratory animals in accordance with the amended Animal Welfare Act and guarantee the comparability of the results, the PCC has to facilitate animal research while meeting the highest requirements in terms of hygiene status, climatic conditions, apparatus equipment and internal processes. The experiments include studying genetically modified mice. In addition, gene expression in specific brain areas can be altered using special gene probes that are introduced via viral vectors. The behavioral experiments are combined with state-of-the-art neurochemical, physiological, pharmacological and optogenetic methods.
Here, noninvasive behavioral tests and in vivo imaging are combined with invasive procedures (e.g., derivation of brain waves or measurement of neurotransmitter release in free-moving animals) and pharmacological treatments. Intracerebral application of viral vectors is becoming increasingly important as it can be used to identify neuronal circuits and elucidate their function.
An additional focus is on using imaging techniques in living animals (2-photon microscopy; hence the connection of the PCC to the MRI building).