Sensory and Neuromotor System Disorders CRO

In vivex is a preclinical Contract Research Organization ( CRO )
specialized in the evaluation of sensory and neuromotor system disorders

Technical platforms

In vivex offers a large panel of in vitro and in vivo techniques allowing to study the efficacy of new drug candidates from the behavioral to the cellular and molecular level.

Behavioral tests
In vitro and histology

Behavioral tests

Motor system
Balance beam

The balance beam is a narrow « walking bridge » for rodents to walk across to test sensorineural balance and coordination. The beam generally sits between two elevated platforms with platforms to hold either mice or rats.

The rotarod measures the capacity of animals to stay in balance on a rotating cylinder. It is used to phenotype balance, proprioception and locomotor system.
Grip test

The grip test measures muscular strength of animals grasping on a metal grid. It is used to phenotype neuromuscular functions.
Kondziela inverted screen

The Kondziela inverted screen test is a vertically positioned grid box, which allows the mouse to grab on the grids as it climbs down. This test allows to determine muscular strength and proprioception.
Thermal Pain : Thermal gradient test

The thermal gradient test measures the comfort temperature of animals, free to move on a metal floor from 5 to 55°C. It is used to phenotype sensitivity and neuropathic pain.
Mechanical Pain : von Frey test

von Frey test is a common method to evaluate mechanical hyperalgesia and neuropathic pain in conscious mice and rats. This method is based on behavioral observations of animal response to mechanical stimuli of increasing forces applied to the paw area.

Optometry test assesses visual acuity by measuring the ability of mice to visually follow-up vertical bars in motion.


Motor system

Electrophysiological recordings provide a sensitive approach to measure nerve conduction velocity and amplitude in humans and rodents. Assessing the functionality of the nerve axon provides detailed information on the progression of neuromuscular disorders.
Auditory brainstem response

ABRs are electric potentials recorded from scalp electrodes, and the waves represent the summed activity of the auditory system. The ABR is used for newborn hearing screening, auditory threshold estimation, determining hearing loss type and degree, and auditory nerve and brainstem lesion detection.
Auditory cortex spontaneous activity analysis

Electrophysiology recording of spontaneous spikes of the primary auditory cortex neurons allows to study the increase of spontaneous activity induced by tinnitus disorder and to determine the efficacy of pharmacological candidates targeting central nervous system changes induced by tinnitus in mouse.
Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions

DPOAEs are acoustic signals created and amplified by the cochlear epithelium offering an index of cochlear function and are linked to outer hair cell health which amplify sound-evoked cochlear vibration. They do not depend on inner hair cells or auditory nerve fibers.

The ERG measures the electrical activity of optic nerve and retinal cells ( ganglion and bipolar cells, cones and rods ).

In vitro and histology

Motor system
CARS imaging

in vivo CARS ( coherent anti-stokes raman scattering ) imaging is a method allowing to image specific molecular bonds of chemical species present in cells, such as myelin, using a multiphoton microscope at different times points of the neuropathy development.
Transmission electron microscopy

TEM is used to investigate the ultrastructure of a wide range of biological samples including cells, large molecules, membranes, and crystals. This methods allows to study myelin sheath structure and axonal degeneration.
TNF-α and IL-6 biomarkers

Quantification of biomarkers TNF-α and Interleukin 6 by ELISA. TNF-α and IL-6 levels significantly change in serum in degenerative and inflammatory neuropathy models. These biomarkers can be used to study the severity and evolution of the degenerative neuropathies and to determine the efficacy of new pharmacological compound in these inflammatory disorders.
Toluidine blue staining of peripheral nerve

Toluidine blue staining of nerve cross sections is a reproducible method for qualitative and quantitative assessments of peripheral nerves, enabling visualization of morphology number of axons and degree of myelination.
In vitro efficacy study

mSC80 is a Schwann cell line widely used to rapidly screening the efficacy of new pharmacological candidates targeting Schwann cell signaling and demyelinating process. In vivex validated and automatized this procedure allowing to select the best sponsor drug candidate, increasing the preclinical in vivo study success and allowing economic drug optimization.
Scanning electron microscopy

SEM of cochlear hair cells allows to determine the ultrastructure of inner and outer hair cell stereocilia. This method is required on auditory studies to support or refute any potential test article related to DPOAE and/or ABR changes.
Prestin and BDNF biomarkers

Quantification of biomarkers prestin and BDNF protein by ELISA. Prestin levels significantly changes in serum in hearing loss models. The circulatory levels of prestin acts as surrogate biomarker for hearing loss involving cochlear hair cell loss. Brain-derived nerve growth factor ( BDNF ) is believed in playing a key role in regulating neuronal excitability in the brain. Importantly, several publications demonstrated that BDNF is upregulated in tinnitus patients and it is recognized as a tinnitus disorder biomarker.

Cytocochleograms are graphic representations of the actual numerical count for inner and outer hair cells along the length of the cochlea determined by immunohistology. This method is required on auditory studies to support or refute any potential test article related to ABR and DPOAE changes.
Western blot

In vivex standardized western blot procedure for in vitro protein analysis and to study the evolution of the diseases and efficacy of new drugs using biomarkers.
Retina histology

Retina histology allows to study retinal ganglion cells and retina layers structure by histology labeling. This method is required on ophthalmology studies to support or refute any potential test article related to blindness or visual acuity.
UCP2 biomarker

Quantification of retinal UCP2 protein by ELISA in diabetic mice. UCP2 is an anion carrier expressed in the mitochondrial inner membrane that uncouple oxygen consumption by the respiratory chain from ATP synthesis. This protein is overexpressed in retina, and other tissues, and can be used to determine the severity and evolution of the diabetic retinopathy and the new pharmacological compound efficacy.