In the research for the treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI), the evaluation of motor function in model rats must be as objective, noninvasive, and ethical as possible. The maximum speed and acceleration of a mouse measured using a SCANET system were previously reported to vary significantly according to severity of SCI. In the present study, the motor performance of SCI model rats was examined with SCANET and assessed for Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) score to determine the usefulness of the SCANET system in evaluating functional recovery after SCI. Maximum speed and acceleration within the measurement period correlated significantly with BBB scores. Furthermore, among several phased kinematic factors used in BBB scores, the capability of "plantar stepping" was associated with a drastic increase in maximum speed and acceleration after SCI. Therefore, evaluation of maximum speed and acceleration using a SCANET system is a useful method for rat models of SCI and can complement open field scoring scales.
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