Clinical Background

Motor coordination, motor learning, and physical condition can be assessed by rotarod. Animals are placed on an elevated horizontally oriented dowel. The dowel rotates at either a predetermined speed or accelerates for a set duration or until the animal falls from the dowel. Latency to fall for each animal is measured on every trial. Performance is commonly measured over the course of multiple days with repeated trials per day.

Treatments that disrupt motor ability and coordination will cause impaired performance on the rotarod. This test has been validated by examining ethanol induced ataxia. Mice were tested four trials a day over the course of two days. The graph above shows the results of the trials collapsed into two trial blocks. Mice that received ethanol fell from the rotarod significantly faster than saline treated animals at all time points. These data demonstrate the sensitivity of the task in distinguishing motor impairments.