Symmetrical and asymmetrical gaits in the mouse: patterns to increase velocity

J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2004 Nov;190(11):895-906. doi: 10.1007/s00359-004-0545-0. Epub 2004 Sep 24.


The gaits of the adult SWISS mice during treadmill locomotion at velocities ranging from 15 to 85 cm s(-1) have been analysed using a high-speed video camera combined with cinefluoroscopic equipment. The sequences of locomotion were analysed to determine the various space and time parameters of limb kinematics. We found that velocity adjustments are accounted for differently by the stride frequency and the stride length if the animal showed a symmetrical or an asymmetrical gait. In symmetrical gaits, the increase of velocity is provided by an equal increase in the stride length and the stride frequency. In asymmetrical gaits, the increase in velocity is mainly assured by an increase in the stride frequency in velocities ranging from 15 to 29 cm s(-1). Above 68 cm s(-1), velocity increase is achieved by stride length increase. In velocities ranging from 29 to 68 cm s(-1), the contribution of both variables is equal as in symmetrical gaits. Both stance time and swing time shortening contributed to the increase of the stride frequency in both gaits, though with a major contribution from stance time decrease. The pattern of locomotion obtained in a normal mouse should be used as a template for studying locomotor control deficits after lesions or in different mutations affecting the nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Forelimb / physiology*
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Hindlimb / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Mice