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Insight & Intelligence : Jan 7, 2014
Four Tips for Studying Fine Motor Skills in Mice
Suggested guidelines on a novel way of translating central nervous system disease from mouse to men.!--h2>
Fine motor skills, such as finger-tapping rhythm and rate, are applied for early diagnosis of many diseases, such as Huntington’s disease. Similarly, functional motor recovery has been assayed with stroke patients to quantify movement smoothness in patients recovering from stroke (Rohrer et al., 2002).
The same readouts cannot be used for mice, but what if there was a tool to analyze fine motor skill characteristics for a model of central nervous system disease (CNS)? Recently, researchers have been experimenting with a novel, automated, high-precision, kinematic movement analysis system that can be utilized to detect subtle phenotype changes, with earlier and more sensitive detection compared to traditional movement analysis (Zörner et al., 2010). The system provides a more comprehensive study of fine motor performance and motor deficits than previous methods, which is necessary to fully model the aspects of human CNS disease in preclinical models.
In kinematic analysis, movements of relevant body parts, such as limb joints, trunk and tail, are recorded using a high-speed camera from the bottom and sides simultaneously. This allows correlation of all body parts so that one can establish a complete profile of the animal’s motor abilities. Kinematic analysis applies not only to the study of fine motor defect development in rodent models of CNS and other motor impairment diseases, but also may offer a sensitive tool to investigate efficacy of therapeutic approaches or to study subtle motor skill changes, similar to how human CNS disease is studied.
If you plan on using this system…
Toni Ahtoniemi, who obtained his Ph.D. in 2008 on CNS-related disease models, is a project manager with Charles River Discovery Research Services, based in Finland. This article was adapted from a post on Charles River's scientific blog, Eureka.
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