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J Neurosci Methods. 1987 Jun;20(2):167-79.

Behavioral assessment of functional deficit in rats with contusive spinal cord injury.


We have previously reported a method for assessing functional deficits in rats after contusive spinal cord injury in which a Combined Behavioral Score (CBS) is calculated that is indicative of the overall percent deficit (Exp. Neurol., 88: 123-134, 1985). The test battery used includes several neurologic tests as well as the Motor Score in which use of the hindlimbs in locomotion is graded. In this report we present correction criteria in order to reduce potential interlaboratory variability in assessing functional deficit by the CBS. Groups of rats were subjected to contusive injury using a weight drop technique. The calculated CBS at 4 weeks was compared to that obtained if the Motor Score was over- or underestimated by 1 grade. The results indicated a considerable effect on the calculated CBS, especially when the Motor Score was underestimated in mildly injured animals. Behavioral test data were examined in terms of the distribution of the responses to the various other behavioral tests in relation to the Motor Score. The results were used to develop a set of correction criteria that minimized the effects on the CBS of subjective errors in the Motor Score.

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