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A New Tool for Quantifying Mouse Facial Expressions
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Neurobiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Neurobiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3584-7829
2023 (English)In: eNeuro, E-ISSN 2373-2822, Vol. 10, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Facial expressions are an increasingly used tool to assess emotional experience and affective state during ex-perimental procedures in animal models. Previous studies have successfully related specific facial features with different positive and negative valence situations, most notably in relation to pain. However, characteriz-ing and interpreting such expressions remains a major challenge. We identified seven easily visualizable facial parameters on mouse profiles, accounting for changes in eye, ear, mouth, snout and face orientation. We monitored their relative position on the face across time and throughout sequences of positive and aversive gustatory and somatosensory stimuli in freely moving mice. Facial parameters successfully captured response profiles to each stimulus and reflected spontaneous movements in response to stimulus valence, as well as contextual elements such as habituation. Notably, eye opening was increased by palatable tastants and innoc-uous touch, while this parameter was reduced by tasting a bitter solution and by painful stimuli. Mouse ear posture appears to convey a large part of emotional information. Facial expressions accurately depicted wel-fare and affective state in a time-sensitive manner, successfully correlating time-dependent stimulation. This study is the first to delineate rodent facial expression features in multiple positive valence situations, including in relation to affective touch. We suggest using this facial expression assay might provide mechanistic insights into emotional expression and improve the translational value of experimental studies in rodents on pain and other states.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SOC NEUROSCIENCE , 2023. Vol. 10, no 2
Keywords [en]
mouse grimace scale; mouse profile; optogenetics; positive emotion; somatosensation
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-192117DOI: 10.1523/eneuro.0349-22.2022ISI: 000937339900005PubMedID: 36759187OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-192117DiVA, id: diva2:1741091
Funder
Linköpings universitetKnut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 2019.0047Available from: 2023-03-03 Created: 2023-03-03 Last updated: 2023-03-27

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