Assessment of motor balance and coordination in mice using the balance beam

J Vis Exp. 2011 Mar 10;(49):2376. doi: 10.3791/2376.

Abstract

Brain injury, genetic manipulations, and pharmacological treatments can result in alterations of motor skills in mice. Fine motor coordination and balance can be assessed by the beam walking assay. The goal of this test is for the mouse to stay upright and walk across an elevated narrow beam to a safe platform. This test takes place over 3 consecutive days: 2 days of training and 1 day of testing. Performance on the beam is quantified by measuring the time it takes for the mouse to traverse the beam and the number of paw slips that occur in the process. Here we report the protocol used in our laboratory, and representative results from a cohort of C57BL/6 mice. This task is particularly useful for detecting subtle deficits in motor skills and balance that may not be detected by other motor tests, such as the Rotarod.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Rotarod Performance Test
  • Task Performance and Analysis*