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Brain Res. 1995 Apr 3;676(1):231-4.

Asymmetrical motor behavior in rats with unilateral striatal excitotoxic lesions as revealed by the elevated body swing test.

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Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa 33612, USA.


Severe degeneration of basal ganglia neurons, particularly the intrinsic neurons of the striatum, is the major underlying neuropathology implicated in clinical attributes of Huntington's disease (HD). The excitotoxin-lesioned striatum provides a useful model for evaluating behavioral parameters of HD. Animals with unilateral excitotoxic lesions exhibit asymmetrical rotational behavior in response to dopamine agonists, such as apomorphine. However, the observed behavior is a pharmacological reaction, and subject to sensitization effects. A behavioral test using undrugged animals may demonstrate a more natural response of the animals to the lesion effects. Recently, we have developed the 'drug-free' elevated body swing test (EBST), and demonstrated that hemiparkinsonian rats exhibited significant biased swing activity. In the present study, we observed that animals with unilateral intrastriatal 3-nitropropionic acid or quinolinic acid lesions displayed a significant biased swing activity with the direction ipsilateral to the lesioned side of the brain. This ipsilateral swing corresponded to the ipsilateral rotational behavior exhibited by the lesioned animals when challenged with apomorphine. The present results demonstrated that the EBST is a sensitive measure for characterizing asymmetrical behavior in animals with striatal lesions.

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