Gait Analysis of Age-dependent Motor Impairments in Mice with Neurodegeneration.
Rostosky CM., Milosevic I.
Motor behavior tests are commonly used to determine the functional relevance of a rodent model and to test newly developed treatments in these animals. Specifically, gait analysis allows recapturing disease relevant phenotypes that are observed in human patients, especially in neurodegenerative diseases that affect motor abilities such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and others. In early studies along this line, the measurement of gait parameters was laborious and depended on factors that were hard to control (e.g., running speed, continuous running). The development of ventral plane imaging (VPI) systems made it feasible to perform gait analysis at a large scale, making this method a useful tool for the assessment of motor behavior in rodents. Here, we present an in-depth protocol of how to use kinematic gait analysis to examine the age-dependent progression of motor deficits in mouse models of neurodegeneration; mouse lines with decreased levels of endophilin, in which neurodegenerative damage progressively increases with age, are used as an example.