To establish a simple and reliable test for assessing locomotor function in mice with brain injury, we developed a new method, the rotarod slip test, in which the number of slips of the paralytic hind limb from a rotarod is counted. Brain injuries of different severity were created in adult C57BL/6 mice, by inflicting 1-point, 2-point and 4-point cryo-injuries. These mice were subjected to the rotarod slip test, the accelerating rotarod test and the elevated body swing test (EBST). Histological analyses were performed to assess the severity of the brain damage. Significant and consistent correlations between test scores and severity were observed for the rotarod slip test and the EBST. Only the rotarod slip test detected the mild hindlimb paresis in the acute and sub-acute phase after injury. Our results suggest that the rotarod slip test is the most sensitive and reliable method for assessing locomotor function after brain damage in mice.
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