Quantifying changes following spinal cord injury with velocity dependent locomotor measures

J Neurosci Methods. 2013 Mar 30;214(1):27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


Many locomotor measures commonly used to assess functional deficits following neurological injury are velocity dependent. This makes the comparison of faster pre-injury walking to slower post-injury walking a challenging process. In lieu of calculating mean values at specific velocities, we have employed the use of nonlinear regression techniques to quantify locomotor measures across all velocities. This enables us to assess more accurately the locomotor recovery of rats after a cervical spinal cord injury. For example, while the mean stride length of the hindlimbs decreased following injury, regression analysis revealed that the change was due to the reduction in walking speed and not a functional deficit. A significant difference in the percent of the right forelimb step cycle that was spent in stance phase, or duty factor, was found across all velocities, however this deficit spontaneously recovered after 6 weeks. Conversely, no differences were initially found in hindlimb stride length, but abnormal compensatory techniques were found to have developed 3 weeks after injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ataxia / etiology
  • Ataxia / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Forelimb / physiopathology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology*
  • Hindlimb / physiopathology
  • Lameness, Animal / etiology
  • Lameness, Animal / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recovery of Function
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / physiology