Gait dynamics in trisomic mice: quantitative neurological traits of Down syndrome

Physiol Behav. 2004 Sep 15;82(2-3):381-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.04.006.


The segmentally trisomic mouse Ts65Dn is a model of Down syndrome (DS). Gait abnormalities are almost universal in persons with DS. We applied a noninvasive imaging method to quantitatively compare the gait dynamics of Ts65Dn mice (n=10) to their euploid littermates (controls) (n=10). The braking duration of the hind limbs in Ts65Dn mice was prolonged compared to that in control mice (60+/-3 ms vs. 49+/-2 ms, P<.05) at a slow walking speed (18 cm/s). Stride length and stride frequency of forelimbs and hind limbs were comparable between Ts65Dn mice and control mice. Stride dynamics were significantly different in Ts65Dn mice at a faster walking speed (36 cm/s). Stride length was shorter in Ts65Dn mice (5.9+/-0.1 vs. 6.3+/-0.3 cm, P<.05), and stride frequency was higher in Ts65Dn compared to control mice (5.9+/-0.1 vs. 5.3+/-0.1 strides/s, P<.05). Hind limb swing duration was prolonged in Ts65Dn mice compared to control mice (93+/-3 vs. 76+/-3 ms, P<.05). Propulsion of the forelimbs contributed to a significantly larger percentage of stride duration in Ts65Dn mice than in control mice at the faster walking speed. Indices of gait dynamics in Ts65Dn mice correspond to previously reported findings in children with DS. The methods used in the present study provide quantitative markers for genotype and phenotype relationship studies in DS. This technique may provide opportunities for testing the efficacy of therapies for motor dysfunction in persons with DS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down Syndrome / genetics
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Gait / genetics*
  • Gait / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Reference Values