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OPERON (Papaleo-Scheggia’s method)

Product Code:49500/49503

Creates an opportunity to study attentional set shifting (a measure of cognitive flexibility and executive functions), by testing the ability of rodents to adapt to constantly changing rules. Especially for translational research in psychiatric medicine.

Includes 2 compartments with auto sliding doors, 3 automated stimulators (visual, tactile and olfactory), 2 nose poke holes and reward pellets. The instrument is automatically managed by a dedicated version of ANY-maze software.

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  • Attentional set shifting tasks for rodents are currently limited due to their manual-based testing procedures. This has been hampering research advances in this field.
  • Attentional set shifting tasks have been used to identify specific cognitive abnormalities in a wide range of mental disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders.
  • Method by Papaleo-Scheggia, as used to measure attentional set shifting in mice and the effects of genetic and pharmacologic manipulations of dopamine and glutamate. 


Novel, effective, automatically managed cues

  • Our novel ID/ED OPERON instrument is an effective preclinical tool for drug testing and large genetic relevant screenings to study the executive dysfunctions and cognitive symptoms of psychiatric disorders.
  • Composed of two compartments, divided by an automated sliding door (for easy continuous trial repetition), with an operant wall mounted on each side; this includes 3 automated tridimensional stimulators (visual, odor and texture), left and right, with 2 nose pokes and a pellet dispenser in the middle for the reward.
  • Innovative Revolving System, which provides automated change of floor tactile stimulation and an Odor Delivery System with 10 different odors in 2 independent channels.
  • Automated reward when the correct choice is made.
  • A dedicated version of ANY-maze video tracking software automatically manages OPERON cues, sensors and data acquisition.




2 compartments cage, divided by an automated sliding door

Continuous trial repetition

Operant walls including lights, odor delivery and revolving floor

Automated tridimensional stimulation (visual, odor and texture)

Proprietary Revolver System

Automated floor tactile stimulation

Odor Delivery System, 2-channels and 10 independent flowmeters

Automated odor stimulation via 10 different odors independently on the two chambers

Left and right nose pokes and pellet dispenser for each compartment

Automated reward when the correct choice is made

Dedicated ANY-maze version for Operon

Fully automated managing of all the OPERON cues, sensors and data acquisition


 Texture revolver

6 different tiles (each wall)

 Stimulus lights

2 x 3mm 6-color LEDs (each wall)

 Nose pokes

2 x 12mm (each wall)

 House light

1 x LED lamp 220 lux (each wall)

Attentional set shifting is a measure of cognitive flexibility and executive functions, refering to the ability to switch between arbitrary internal rules (“cognitive-attentional sets”). The most widely used neuropsychological tasks for the
evaluation of this function in humans are the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the CANTAB Intra-/Extra-Dimensional set-shifting task (ID/ED).
These tasks have been used to identify specific cognitive abnormalities in a wide range of mental disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorders.
The clinical relevance and solid methodologic approach of the WCST and the ID/ED tests have attracted interest in preclinical research. Importantly, these tasks allow for the selective measurement of discriminative learning, reversal learning, and switching of attention within the same dimension (intradimensional shift [IDS]) and between different perceptual dimensions (extradimensional shift [EDS]) within the same subject. This distinction is crucial because a double dissociation or functional specialization between the lateral (in monkeys and humans)/medial (in rodents) and orbital regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) have been demonstrated. That is, whereas the orbitofrontal cortex is selectively involved in the reversal phases of these tasks, the lateral/medial PFC region governs the EDS stages.
In genetically modified mice with reduced catechol-O-methyltransferase activity there wasselective improvement on extradimensional shift abilities and impairment of serial reversal learning.

Operon System


Operon System

49550-005 Air Control System
49550-010 Olfactory Delivery System


ANY-Maze Software for Operon System

Diego Scheggia, Audrey Bebensee, Daniel R. Weinberger, and Francesco Papaleo: "The Ultimate Intra-/Extra-Dimensional Attentional Set-Shifting Task for Mice"  Biological Psychiatry, Volume 75, Issue 8, Pages 660-670, 15 April 2014 - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.05.021

Diego Scheggia, Francesco Papaleo et alia: "Variations in Dysbindin-1 are associated with cognitive response to antipsychotic drug treatment" Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 11;9(1):2265. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04711-w Erratum in: Nat Commun. 2018 Aug 29;9(1):3560

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