Animal facilities “SMARTY”

OsteoStart Platform

The OsteoStart Platform of IRMB is specialized in in-vivo production and analysis of animal models, mainly murine, reproducing the major motor, osteo-articular and joint disorders. It is managed by an engineer with 25 years of expertise in behavioral experiments and phenotyping platform management in France and abroad. Several independent rooms are dedicated to pain and motor phenotyping in order to:

1. Explore somatosensory, osteo-articular and locomotor functions.

2. Develop cell and gene therapy protocols in pre-clinical trials.

The platform is part of the Network of Animal Facilities of Montpellier (RAM), affiliated to Biocampus, the service unit of the RABELAIS BioHealth Cluster (PôleBiologie-Santé). It is open to all academic and private scientific community to host animal models. All projects must be submitted to the manager in charge of the research board. If the project comes from external teams, it must also be approved by the executive committee of the animal facility.


The platform provides high quality and semi-automated behavioral (locomotion, balance, sensitivity) and imaging (osteo-articular deficits) set ups.



Catwalk XTTM (Noldus Information Technology)

CatwalkXTTMautomatically measures locomotor deficits due to various pathologies (joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, associated pain) through the analysis of paw prints during spontaneous locomotion. The large variety of dynamic parameters measured, such as paw area, pressure intensity, stride length, coordination between paws… allows to finely quantify pain and locomotor deficits in joint disease mouse models. 

See our blog post on rheumatoid arthritis model at :


Dynamic weight bearing (Bioseb)

The Dynamic Weight Bearing test automatically measures the weight exerted by each paw during spontaneous locomotion and detects changes in postural equilibrium. This test can be applied to various pathologies to quantify pain and locomotor deficits in joint disease mouse models. 


Automated actimeter (Bioseb)

The automated actimeter measures the overall locomotor activity (activity, rest, distance traveled) in a closed arena scanned by infra-red beams. It is very useful to quantify differences in general activity between control mice and rheumatoid/osteoarthritic mice models.

Automated video tracking EthovisionXTTM (Noldus Information Technology)

EthovisionXTTManalyses the overall locomotor activity of animals based on video recordings.It completes and deepens the data acquired with the above infra-red automated actimeter.


Rotarod (Bioseb)

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.



Treadmills (Bioseb)

The automated treadmills (1 and 5 lanes) are designed to train mice to physical exercise. They can be coupled with other tests to detect locomotor deficits or fatigue. 


Microscanner (Brucker)

The microscanner SkyScann 1196®allows to perform longitudinal studies of bone and cartilage structures in rodents. It belongs to national platform ECELL France, localized at IRMB. Any project using microscanner needs a preliminary contract or order between user and ECELL France. 


Dynamic plantar analgesia (IITC Life Sciences) and Von Frey (Bioseb)

Dynamic plantar analgesia and dynamic Von Frey allow to measure sensitivity to mechanical or thermal stimuli respectively. They are widely used in projects dealing with inflammatory pain and analgesia following therapeutic treatments.

Static weight bearing (Bioseb)

The static weight bearing test investigates postural imbalance by measuring the difference in left and right paw pressures.It is useful to phenotype sensitivity and pain in hind limbs.