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Author Notes:

Correspondence: H. A. Jinnah, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine, Departments of Neurology & Human Genetics, 6305 Woodruff Memorial Building, Atlanta GA, 30322, USA; Phone: 404-727-9107, Fax: 404-712-8576, Email: hjinnah@emory.edu

Acknowledgments: We thank Dr. Harald Schubert and Mrs. Petra Dobermann, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science of University Hospital Jena, and Günter Ditze and his co-workers, Scientific Workshop of University Hospital Jena, for technical support to facilitate the surgical intervention in animals.


Research Funding:

Supported in part by NIH grant NS40470 and NS33592.


  • Ataxia
  • Dystonia
  • Animal Models
  • Electromyography
  • Video kinematics

Kinematic and Electromyographic Tools for Characterizing Movement Disorders in Mice


Journal Title:

Movement Disorders


Volume 25, Number 3


, Pages 265-274

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Increasing interest in rodent models for movement disorders has led to an increasing need for more accurate and precise methods for both delineating the nature of abnormal movements and measuring their severity. These studies describe application of simultaneous high-speed video kinematics with multi-channel EMG to characterize the movement disorder exhibited by tottering mutant mice. These mice provide a uniquely valuable model because they exhibit paroxysmal dystonia superimposed on mild baseline ataxia, permitting the examination of these two different problems within the same animals. At baseline with mild ataxia, the mutants exhibited poorly coordinated movements with increased variation of stance and swing times, and slower spontaneous walking velocities. The corresponding EMG showed reduced mean amplitudes of biceps femoris (BF) and vastus lateralis (VL), and poorly modulated EMG activities during the step cycle. Attacks of paroxysmal dystonia were preceded by trains of EMG bursts with doublets and triplets simultaneously in the BF and VL followed by more sustained co-activation. These EMG characteristics are consistent with the clinical phenomenology of the motor phenotype of tottering mice as a baseline of mild ataxia with intermittent attacks of paroxysmal dystonia. The EMG characteristics of ataxia and dystonia in the tottering mice also are consistent with EMG studies of other ataxic or dystonic animals and humans. These studies provide insights into how these methods can be used for delineating movement disorders in mice, and for how they may be compared with similar disorders of humans.

Copyright information:

© 2010 Movement Disorder Society

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