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J Vis Exp. 2011 Mar 10;(49). pii: 2376. doi: 10.3791/2376.

Assessment of motor balance and coordination in mice using the balance beam.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology, USA.

Abstract

Brain injury, genetic manipulations, and pharmacological treatments can result in alterations of motor skills in mice. Fine motor coordination and balance can be assessed by the beam walking assay. The goal of this test is for the mouse to stay upright and walk across an elevated narrow beam to a safe platform. This test takes place over 3 consecutive days: 2 days of training and 1 day of testing. Performance on the beam is quantified by measuring the time it takes for the mouse to traverse the beam and the number of paw slips that occur in the process. Here we report the protocol used in our laboratory, and representative results from a cohort of C57BL/6 mice. This task is particularly useful for detecting subtle deficits in motor skills and balance that may not be detected by other motor tests, such as the Rotarod.

PMID:
21445033
PMCID:
PMC3197288
DOI:
10.3791/2376
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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