The millimeter resolution mouse force tracker (MRMFT) is a single device for collecting and quantifying the behaviors of laboratory mice.
Behavioral assessments of the genetically altered mice strive to ascertain how various genetic manipulations affect brain function, as well as the effects of experimental therapies. Quantification of behavior in mice is challenging, though, given their small size (~25g) and the wide range of potential mouse behaviors including locomotion, grooming, rearing up, jumping, exploration, and circling - in addition to abnormal movements, such as tremor or ataxia.Researchers currently have to use a variety of tests in addition to an experimental design approach where multiple different measurement instruments are used to assess mouse behavior. This is extremely labor intensive and, therefore, expensive and slow and requires the space for multiple instruments. The millimeter resolution mouse force tracker (MRMFT) is a single device to conduct high-throughput, quantitative mouse phenotyping in a multivariate manner sensitive to the variety and complexity of mouse behaviors.
Behavioral studies of genetically altered mice for ascertaining causes and treatments (pharmacological, neurosurgical, etc.) of neurological diseases and other conditions.
This device measures the footfall force of each of the mouse's four feet as it moves spontaneously over the floor of a measurement chamber, which contains an array of highly sensitive closely placed force sensors. The MRMFT allows researchers to simply place the test subject on the force tracker plate. The plate collects and sends signals to a computer software program for processing. The software determines and reports movement, position, force exerted, and foot tremors - all on one or more feet. Plates of the measurement chamber can be placed in a variety of geometric configurations to adapt to the specific aims of the study - such as square, rectangular, T-shaped, L-shaped, Y-shaped, and star-shaped.
In a single instrument, the MRMFT will record and quantify all current behavioral measures available from the force plate actometer such as velocity, distance, bouts of low mobility, rotations, focused stereotypy, and tremor. Notably, it is also able to record heretofore immeasurable data on mouse foot force while both mobile and immobile.
Current motor behavior assessment tools, such as, the rotarod requires constraining the mouse's behavior, and thus, can limit the behaviors observed by the scientist; photobeam actometers lack spatial resolution; and video tracking methods are limited by the frame rates, spatial resolution, and lighting conditions. The MRMFT can measure tremor in each foot concurrently and separately, and no other available instrument can do this. This is very important for research on Parkinson's disease where tremor in one limb is a common early manifestation of the disease. The ability of the MRMFT to track each foot dynamically allows it to provide all currently used gait measures which are increasingly recognized as important early markers of neurological diseases. The MRMFT provides a high-throughput single-device solution.