Sensorimotor Tests

Activity Chamber

The Activity Chamber is a simple assessment test used to determine general activity levels, gross locomotion activity, and exploration habits in rodent models of CNS disorders. Assessment takes place in a square arena mounted with three planes of infrared detectors within a specially designed sound attenuating chamber.


Basket Test

The Basket test is useful in assessing motor coordination and sensorimotor deficits in rodent models of CNS disorders. An animal is placed in the center of the basket and the basket is inverted. The animal is allowed to climb down the walls of the wire basket into its home cage. 


Cylinder Test

The Cylinder test is designed to evaluate locomotor asymmetry in rodent models of CNS disorders. As the animal moves within an open-top, clear plastic cylinder, its forelimb activity while rearing against the wall of the arena is recorded. Forelimb use is defined by the placement of the whole palm on the wall of the arena, which indicates its use for body support. 


Foot Fault Test

The Foot Fault test is a tool for assessing locomotor function in rodent models of CNS disorders. Subjects are placed on an elevated horizontal ladder and trained to cross the device. Video scoring or sensors record paws slipping along the steps of the ladder as the animal crosses. Paw misplacements and the ambulatory time are recorded for each run of the test; a total of four runs are recorded for each animal. 


Grip Strength

TThe Grip Strength test is used to evaluate motor function and deficit in rodent models of CNS disorders. The animal’s paws are placed on a wire grid, which the animal will naturally hold on to while its tail is gently pulled backwards.


Hot Plate

The Hot Plate test is a common sensorimotor task that measures thermal nociception in rodent models of CNS disorders. This test measures the nociceptive responses of mice when they are placed on a warmed metal plate either at a standard, constant temperature or at slowly increasing temperature, starting from non-noxious levels to a standard, constant temperature. 


Ledged Beam Test

The Ledged Beam test is used to assess sensorimotor deficits in rodent models of CNS disorders. Subjects walk across an elevated beam that gradually narrows in width as they approach their home cage. The beam features a ledge that catches the animal’s paw if it slips off the edge. Misplacements of the paw off the beam are video recorded and scored.


Neurological Testing

Two main neurological tests are used to assess motor and behavioral deficits in rat models of CNS disorders. Both the Garcia test and the 28-point Neuroscore test involve a battery of motor tests, ranging from simple observation to traversing a horizontal bar. These tests are well-suited for assessing neurological damage due to ischemia and the effects of novel chemical entities on motor performance.


Olfactory Test

The Olfactory Test is a sensory assay used to measure the olfactory ability, degree of social interest, and perception of social novelty in rodent models of CNS disorders. The nonsocial olfactory test employs water and synthetic odorants, while the social olfactory test uses water and urine samples from other animals. Cotton swabs dipped in odorant solution are placed in centrifuge tubes with holes drilled around the base at regular intervals, thus preventing the animal from chewing or sitting on the cotton swab. 


Open Field

The Open Field task is a simple sensorimotor test used to determine general activity levels, gross locomotor activity, and exploration habits in rodent models of CNS disorders. Assessment takes place in a square, white Plexiglas box. The animal is placed in the arena and allowed to freely move about for 10 minutes while being recorded by an overhead camera. The footage is then analyzed by an automated tracking system for the following parameters:


Phenotyper (Automated Behavior Testing)

The Phenotyper is an observation system that uses home-cage testing to assess behavioral activity in rodent models of CNS disorders within a controlled environment. The advantages of home-cage testing include minimal handling, long-term recording, and automated analyses that are useful for behavioral and pharmacological testing. 


Rotor-Rod

Rotor-Rod is a test used to assess sensorimotor coordination and motor learning in rodent models of CNS disorders. The subjects are placed on a rotating rod with either constant rotation or a steady acceleration; the latency to fall is recorded, where the subjects fall safely 9" below the rotating rod. During training, subjects learn to balance on a stationary rod, then on a rod constantly rotating at 10 rpm.


Vibrissae Evoked Forelimb Placing

The vibrissae-evoked forelimb placing test (also known as the paw whisker test) is useful for assessing asymmetry in the sensorimotor cortex and striatum. The experimenter holds the animal so that all four limbs hang freely. The vibrissae are stimulated by brushing each side against the edge of a table. This elicits a same-side forelimb response to place the paw on the table top. The rat is allowed ten trials on each side and the percent of successful placements is recorded.


Visual Acuity Test

The Visual Acuity Test is used to assess visual discrimination and acuity in rodent models of CNS disorders. In this test, mice swim in a water tank with a clear plastic barrier and two cue cards of variable black and white gratings. 


Wire Hang Test

The Wire Hang test seeks to evaluate motor function and deficit in rodent models of CNS disorders. The test begins with the animal hanging from an elevated wire cage top. The animal is placed on the cage top, which is then inverted and suspended above the home cage; the latency to when the animal falls is recorded.