Light – Dark Arena

Anxiety Test

  • Light Dark Arena from TSE Systems

The Light-Dark paradigm is a quick and easy-to-use test to evaluate the unconditioned anxiety level of rodents. It does not require prior training. It is based on a conflict between the innate aversion to a brightly illuminated area and the spontaneous exploratory behavior in response to a novel environment. Anxiolytic com­pounds decrease the total duration of time spent in the dark compartment (index of aversion) and the number of transfers between compartments (index of activity-exploration) while anxiogenic compounds work in the opposite way.

TSE provides several solutions to run a Light Dark test. The most flexible solution is the combination with the TSE VideoMot2 video-tracking system. Select between stand-alone single or dual boxes with and without a manually operated door. Dark inserts in 33% or 50% size for standard Open Field boxes also are available. VideoMot2 reliably detects when the animal disappears into the dark compartment and outputs the number of visits and time spent in the dark compartment.

Special IR translucent Light-Dark arenas allow tracking of animals even in the dark compartment when they are combined with TSE IR-Boxes and TSE IR-Open Fields. For a comprehensive data output combine the Light-Dark setup with TSE Rearing Frames to measure rearing activity in parallel to tracking – even in the dark compartment.

The Light-Dark test can also be performed with the TSE Multi-Conditioning System or the TSE ActiMot2 Open Field Test System.

Zarb Y, Weber-Stadlbauer U, Kirschenbaum D, Kindler DR, Richetto J, Keller D, Rademakers R, Dickson DW, Pasch A, Byzova T, Nahar K, Voigt FF, Helmchen F, Boss A, Aguzzi A, Klohs J, Keller A. Ossified blood vessels in primary familial brain calcification elicit a neurotoxic astrocyte response. Brain 2019; 142(4): 885-902.

Richetto J, Polesel M, Weber-Stadlbauer U. Effects of light and dark phase testing on the investigation of behavioural paradigms in mice: Relevance for behavioural neuroscience. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2019; 178: 19-29.


Test on non-conditioned innate anxiety .
Conflict between protected dark and aversive lit area.
Latency to enter bright area as measure of anxiety level.
Selection of arenas – 50% and 33% dark area.
Inserts for Open Field cages or stand-alone arenas.
Combination with Rearing Frames and IR Boxes possible.


Unconditioned Anxiety..

Compatible with