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JoVE Encyclopedia of Experiments
Encyclopedia of Experiments: Biology

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Assessing Gait by Footprint Analysis: A Method to Test Motor Coordination in Mice



The footprint test is performed on a flat surface covered with a white sheet of paper, like a runway, ending in a dark gold box and an escape hole. The runway is restricted on each side to prevent subjects from leaving the test area.

A mouse will avoid the bright setting by walking across the runway to enter the escape hole. After the mouse has learned to perform the task, paint its front paws in red and its back paws in black with non-toxic paints. As the mouse walks on the white paper, it will now leave color-labeled footprints.

To describe the animal's gait and motor coordination, measure the distance of the fore- and hindlimbs' stride length, fore- and hindlimb base width, as well as the distance of their overlap.

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