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.
At least two weeks of training are needed to ensure that all subjects have learned the task to the same degree. In the fixed rotation protocol, the animals are placed on a rod which accelerates to and then constantly rotates at 10 rpm. Subjects receive three sessions of testing per week, three trials per session; the average of the three trials is presented daily. In the accelerating protocol, the animals are placed on a rod that accelerates quickly from 0-5 rpm and then gradually from 5-20 rpm. Testing consists of three sessions per week, two trials per session; the average of the two trials is presented daily. A trial is complete when the animal falls or the time period ends; overall testing can run as long as three weeks. This test is used to phenotype strains of transgenic mice and evaluate novel chemical entities for their effect on motor performance.