Objective: Gait irregularities are prevalent in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). However, there is a paucity of information on gait phenotypes in NDD experimental models. This is in part due to the lack of understanding of the normal developmental trajectory of gait maturation in the mouse. Materials and methods: Using the DigiGait system, we have developed a quantitative, standardized, and reproducible assay of developmental gait metrics in commonly used mouse strains that can be added to the battery of mouse model phenotyping. With this assay, we characterized the trajectory of gait in the developing C57BL/6J and FVB/AntJ mouse lines. Results: In both lines, a mature stride consisted of 40% swing and 60% stance in the forelimbs, which mirrors the mature human stride. In C57BL/6J mice, developmental trajectories were observed for stance width, paw overlap distance, braking and propulsion time, rate of stance loading, peak paw area, and metrics of intraindividual variability. In FVB/AntJ mice, developmental trajectories were observed for percent shared stance, paw overlap distance, rate of stance loading, and peak paw area, although in different directions than C57 mice. By accounting for the impact of body length on stride measurements, we demonstrate the importance of considering body length when interpreting gait metrics. Conclusion: Overall, our results show that aspects of mouse gait development parallel a timeline of normal human gait development, such as the percent of stride that is stance phase and swing phase. This study may be used as a standard reference for developmental gait phenotyping of murine models, such as models of neurodevelopmental disease.
- motor function
- mouse strains