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J Neurosci Methods. 1998 Sep 1;83(2):165-75.

The overall rod performance test in the MPTP-treated-mouse model of Parkinsonism.

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Department of Morphological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


We investigated the usefulness of the Overall Rotarod Performance (ORP) test for evaluating overall locomotory ability in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-injected-mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD). For this procedure, the mice are pretrained on the rotarod and then tested at a series of increasing speeds, recording the time that the animal remains on the rod at each speed; the overall rod performance (ORP) of each animal is then calculated as the area under the curve in a plot of time-on-the-rod against rotation speed. At 15-day intervals, C57BL/6 mice were injected (or sham-injected) with MPTP, with ORP testing 7-10 days after each injection. After the fourth injection (day 45), mice in the treated group showed clearly lower ORP than mice in the control group (70-90% reduction in ORP), and were thus considered effectively lesioned. Subsequently, we investigated the short-term effects of apomorphine and L-DOPA on ORP in MPTP-treated mice. Apomorphine (at 0.5 or 2.5 mg/kg) had no significant effect, while L-DOPA (at 80 but not at 40 mg/kg) caused almost complete short-term recovery of pretreatment ORP. By about 100 days after the last MPTP injection, MPTP-treated mice showed partial long-term recovery of ORP; at this stage the mice were killed for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry studies. TH immunoreactivity in the striatum showed a strong positive correlation with ORP as tested on day 100. We conclude that the ORP test is useful for evaluating motor deficit in MPTP-treated mice, and the effects of subsequent treatments.

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