Motor Ability Tests

Several customized behavioral tests are offered to phenotype mouse and rat models and evaluate effects of compounds in different in vivo models.

New behavioral tests are continuously developed and validated.

Beam Walk and Challenging Beam Walk Test
Beam walk imgThese tests are used to measure motor coordination, particularly of the hind limbs.

Animals are trained and tested to traverse an elevated narrow beam which is suspended between a start platform and their home cage. The time to fulfill the task and the number of foot slips are recorded. The test is videotaped and parameters are evaluated by a trained observer.

Beam walk figure _slips_timeChallenging Beam Walk test of A53T α-Synuclein transgenic mice. Number of slips and time to traverse of 3-, 6- and 9- month old transgenic (tg) mice compared to non-transgenic littermates(ntg, n = 12). Data are shown as mean + SEM. Two Way ANOVA; *p<0.05; ***p<0.001.

Beam Walk:


Challenging Beam Walk:



Grip Strength
The Grip Strength test is used to measure neuromuscular functions by determining the maximal peak force developed by a rodent (rat or mouse). Therefore, animals are placed on the grip-strength apparatus so they are able to grab a small grid with their fore paws (in rats also measurement of hind paw strength is possible). Then the animal is slowly pulled away from the grid until it releases the handle. The maximal strength of the animal’s grip is recorded.


Assessment of grip strength of SOD1 tg rats at disease start. Forelimb (A), hindlimb (B) as well as cumulative (C) Grip Strength performance recorded at disease onset of SOD1 tg rats compared to wt controls. Mean + SEM. n= 8 for SOD1 tg rats, n=9 for wt control. Mann Whitney U-test for forelimb force, unpaired t-test for hindlimb as well as cumulative force. ***p<0.001.

Pasta Gnawing Test
Pasta Gnawing mouse imageThe Pasta Gnawing Test is a stress-free behavioral experiment suitable for evaluation of motor deficits in rodents.

During the test, the rodents receive a dry spaghetti in their home cage and gnawing noises of the animals while eating are recorded. Parameters such as biting speed and number of bites/chewing episode are evaluated.

Sonogram with gnawing events:

Pasta Gnawing sonogram1

See wavesound file for auditory record!


Pasta Gnawing soundwave comp tg ntg

See wavesound file for auditory record!

TNWT61 tg (3months)


TNWT61 ntg (3months)



Rabl et al., Quantitative evaluation of orofacial motor function in mice: The pasta gnawing test, a voluntary and stress-free behavior test. J Neurosci Methods. 2016 Dec 1;274:125-130. doi: 10.1016

Pole Test

The Pole Test is used to assess basal ganglia related movement disorders in mice.

Animals are placed head-up on top of a vertical wooden pole. The base of the pole is placed in a cage filled with bedding material. When placed on the pole, animals orient themselves downward and descend the length of the pole back into the cage. After two days of training, animals receive five test trials.

The time to orient downward (t-turn) and total time to descend (t-total) are measured manually. Videotaping of animals performing the task is possible upon request.

Pole test in 6-month old α-Synuclein transgenic (tg) mice. Time to orient downwards (t-turn).Pole test in 6-month old α-Synuclein transgenic (tg) mice. Time to orient downwards (t-turn). n = 5 per group. Data are shown as mean + SEM. T-test. *p<0.05.






Pole Test figure_t-totalPole test in 6 months old α-Synuclein tg mice. Total time to decend (t-total). n = 5 per group. mean + SEM. T-test. *p<0.05.

Rota Rod Test
RotaRod img

The Rota Rod apparatus is used to measure fore- and hind limb motor coordination and balance. The time the animal is able to stay on an accelerating rod is measured automatically by infrared light beams.



RotaRod figureLatency to fall from the Rota Rod in 6 to 17 weeks old TAR6/6 transgenic mice compared to non-transgenic littermates (ntg). 6 weeks: tg n = 5; ntg n = 7; 14-17 weeks: tg n = 11-3; ntg n = 16-5. Unpaired T-test or Mann Whitney test depending on normal distribution. Data are shown as mean ± SEM. *p<0.05; ***p<0.001. It was not possible to calculate data with ANOVA due to missing values.






Wire Hanging Test
With the calculated wire suspension time, it is possible to detect neuromuscular abnormalities of motor strength. For this test, a wire cage lid is used where duct tape is placed around the perimeter to prevent the mouse from walking off the edge. The animal is placed on the top of the cage lid. The lid is slightly shaken three times to force the mouse to grip the wires and then the lid is turned upside down. The lid is held at a height of approximately 50-60 cm above a soft underlay, high enough to prevent the mouse from jumping down, but not high enough to cause harm in the event of a fall. The latency to fall down is quantified. A 90-second cut-off time is used although a healthy mouse can hang upside down for several minutes.