An experimental evaluation of a new designed apparatus (NDA) for the rapid measurement of impaired motor function in rats

J Neurosci Methods. 2015 Aug 15;251:138-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2015.05.023. Epub 2015 Jun 5.


Background: Assessment of the ability of rat to balance by rotarod apparatus (ROTA) is frequently used as a measure of impaired motor system function. Most of these methods have some disadvantages, such as failing to sense motor coordination rather than endurance and as the sensitivity of the method is low, more animals are needed to obtain statistically significant results.

New method: We have designed and tested a new designed apparatus (NDA) to measure motor system function in rats. Our system consists of a glass box containing 4 beams which placed with 1cm distance between them, two electrical motors for rotating the beams, and a camera to record the movements of the rats. The RPM of the beams is adjustable digitally between 0 and 50 rounds per minute.

Results: We evaluated experimentally the capability of the NDA for the rapid measurement of impaired motor function in rats. Also we demonstrated that the sensitivity of the NDA increases by faster rotation speeds and may be more sensitive than ROTA for evaluating of impaired motor system function.

Comparison with existing methods: Compared to a previous version of this task, our NDA provides a more efficient method to test rodents for studies of motor system function after impaired motor nervous system.

Conclusions: In summary, our NDA will allow high efficient monitoring of rat motor system function and may be more sensitive than ROTA for evaluating of impaired motor system function in rats.

Keywords: Beam walking; Ethanol; Motor coordination; New designed apparatus; Rat; Rotarod.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / toxicity
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological / instrumentation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol / toxicity
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Postural Balance / drug effects
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Rotarod Performance Test / instrumentation
  • Rotarod Performance Test / methods


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol