MouseMove: an open source program for semi-automated analysis of movement and cognitive testing in rodents

Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 4:5:16171. doi: 10.1038/srep16171.


The Open Field (OF) test is one of the most commonly used assays for assessing exploratory behaviour and generalised locomotor activity in rodents. Nevertheless, the vast majority of researchers still rely upon costly commercial systems for recording and analysing OF test results. Consequently, our aim was to design a freely available program for analysing the OF test and to provide an accompanying protocol that was minimally invasive, rapid, unbiased, without the need for specialised equipment or training. Similar to commercial systems, we show that our software-called MouseMove-accurately quantifies numerous parameters of movement including travel distance, speed, turning and curvature. To assess its utility, we used MouseMove to quantify unilateral locomotor deficits in mice following the filament-induced middle cerebral artery occlusion model of acute ischemic stroke. MouseMove can also monitor movement within defined regions-of-interest and is therefore suitable for analysing the Novel Object Recognition test and other field-related cognitive tests. To the best of our knowledge, MouseMove is the first open source software capable of providing qualitative and quantitative information on mouse locomotion in a semi-automated and high-throughput fashion, and hence MouseMove represents a sound alternative to commercial movement analysis systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Software*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Video Recording