Grip Strength Test
This is a well established means of testing muscle strength in rodent limbs. It involves a trapeze-like horizontal bar (forelimbs) or a metal grid (fore- and hind-limbs) attached to a digital force gauge. Mice have a strong reflexive tendency to grasp the bar/grid and resist when pulled gently by the tail in the horizontal plane. The gauge will give the peak pull force required to disengage the animal from the bar/grid in kilograms, pounds or Newtons. This is a reproducible and discreet measure of maximum limb muscle strength.
We have 2 digital force gauges with software for automated recording of data. Once calibrated, they will be a fantastic addition to the ABF’s repertoire. This would be of interest to research groups studying neuromuscular function and disease.
This is an example of how the ABF can cater to the needs of local researchers. We are developing an inexpensive yet effective protocol for analysing rodent gait. Animals are trained to run along a corridor or a track to their home cage. For the test run, the paws of interest (fore, hind, or both) are coated in ink, a strip of paper is placed along the length of the track and the animal runs to the cage as normal leaving behind a footprint record which can be analysed with simple imaging software. This is a traditional assay for motor and/or neurological dysfunction and would be of interest to researchers with animal models for diseases and disorders in these domains (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, Huntington's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy etc.).