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The Irwin test is an observational screening paradigm that is comprised of a battery of tests used to assess a mouse or rat’s neurobiological and physiological state. Parameters that are evaluated include autonomic and sensorimotor functions, convulsive behavior, and other activities produced by a drug after administration.
When conducted by an experienced tester the Irwin test can provide insight into a drug’s activity including potential molecular targets, therapeutic benefits and deleterious side-effects.
The Irwin test is used to identify subtle neurological perturbations produced by a drug and used to control for other behavioral and locomotor assays described in the Melior Discovery theraTRACE® platform. Although a behavioral test of sorts, it is not directed towards a specific indication.
The Irwin test is principally used by Melior to provide a context for other assays. This assay system will also be used during the pharmacokinetic and maximal tolerated dose preliminary studies to establish dose-response ranges for subsequent efficacy studies.
In the study summarized below, we assessed Diazepam, a centrally acting anxiolytic with some sedative activities in three different strains of mice: male CD1, male DBA1 and female SJL/J mice.
Mice were assessed for the features described below by two observers blinded to the treatment, 30 minutes after vehicle or Diazepam administration. Each parameter was scored on a 0 to 5 scale, with 0 representing the response in a normal animal and 5 representing a maximally impaired animal.
The Irwin functional observational battery is typically can be conducted in rats or mice. The variability is relatively low and statistical significance may be achieved with group sizes of about 8 to 10 animals. It can be performed in both mice and rats. Since it is non-invasive it can be easily incorporated several times over the course of a chronic study.