CHARACTERIZATION OF GAIT DEFICITS IN A MOUSE MODEL OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
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Neurological deficits in mice subjected to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are typically scored using a clinical scale (CS) with 5-10 levels of ascending paralysis and impaired gait. However, CS scoring is limited by yielding only ordinal data. This study therefore sought to characterize gait changes in EAE mice by kinematic gait analysis. Analysis of sagittal joint angles (hip, knee and ankle) during walking in EAE mice was performed. In general, there was a reduced range of motion and decreased average angle at the hip and knee joints. Deviation from normal gait was then quantified by calculating the root mean square (RMS) difference. Behavioural and kinematic parameters were then correlated with white matter loss in the lumbar spinal cord, revealing a remarkable correlation between ankle RMS difference and white matter loss (r=0.96). These findings indicate kinematic gait analysis is extremely sensitive to CNS histopathology and neurological deficits in EAE mice.