The recovery of walking function following spinal cord injury (SCI) is of major importance to patients and clinicians. In experimental SCI studies, a rat model is widely used to assess walking function, following thoracic spinal cord lesion. In an effort to provide a resource which investigators can refer to when seeking the most appropriate functional assay, the authors have compiled and categorized the behavioral assessments used to measure the deficits and recovery of the gait in thoracic SCI rats. These categories include kinematic and kinetic measurements. Within this categorization, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of measurement. The present review includes the type of outcome data that they produce, the technical difficulty and the time required to potentially train the animals to perform them, and the need for expensive or highly specialized equipment. The use of multiple kinematic and kinetic parameters is recommended to identify subtle deficits and processes involved in the compensatory mechanisms of walking function after experimental thoracic SCI in rats.
Keywords: Gait analysis; Ground reaction forces; Kinematics; Kinetics; Locomotion; Rat; Spinal cord injury.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.