Automated Gait Analysis Detects Improvements after Intracellular σ Peptide Administration in a Rat Hemisection Model of Spinal Cord Injury
A promising treatment strategy for spinal cord injury (SCI) is to reduce inhibition from chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs). For example, administering intracellular σ peptide (ISP) can improve the ability of axons to cross inhibitory CSPGs and improve function in rodent models of SCI. To translate such treatments into the clinic, we need robust and sensitive methods for studying rodent models. In this study, we applied a newly developed suite of quantitative gait analysis tools: gait analysis instrumentation and technology optimized for rodents (GAITOR), which consists of an arena and open-source software (AGATHA: automated gait analysis through hues and areas). We showed that GAITOR can be used to detect subtle functional improvements (measured by hindlimb duty factor imbalance) in rats following ISP administration in a T10 hemisection injury model. We demonstrated that SCI-specific parameters (right paw placement accuracy and phase dispersion) can be easily added to GAITOR to track recovery. We confirmed the gait observations via retrograde tracer uptake. We concluded that GAITOR is a powerful tool for measuring recovery after moderate/mild SCI, and could be used to replace expensive/inflexible commercially-available gait analysis techniques.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10439-019-02198-0
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