Automated quantitative gait analysis during overground locomotion in the rat: its application to spinal cord contusion and transection injuries

J Neurotrauma. 2001 Feb;18(2):187-201. doi: 10.1089/08977150150502613.


Analysis of locomotion is an important tool in the study of peripheral and central nervous system damage. Most locomotor scoring systems in rodents are based either upon open field locomotion assessment, for example, the BBB score or upon foot print analysis. The former yields a semiquantitative description of locomotion as a whole, whereas the latter generates quantitative data on several selected gait parameters. In this paper, we describe the use of a newly developed gait analysis method that allows easy quantitation of a large number of locomotion parameters during walkway crossing. We were able to extract data on interlimb coordination, swing duration, paw print areas (total over stance, and at 20-msec time resolution), stride length, and base of support: Similar data can not be gathered by any single previously described method. We compare changes in gait parameters induced by two different models of spinal cord injury in rats, transection of the dorsal half of the spinal cord and spinal cord contusion injury induced by the NYU or MASCIS device. Although we applied this method to rats with spinal cord injury, the usefulness of this method is not limited to rats or to the investigation of spinal cord injuries alone.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gait*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Tail
  • Walking*