Age-related changes in the motricity of the inbred mice strains 129/sv and C57BL/6j

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The development of motor skills was studied at different stages in the life of the mouse, focusing on three key aspects of motor development: early rhythmic motor activities prior to the acquisition of quadruped locomotion, motor skills in young adults, and the effect of aging on motor skills. The age-related development pattern was analysed and compared in two strains of major importance for genomic studies (C57Bl6/j and 129/sv). Early rhythmic air-stepping activities by l-dopa injected mice showed similar overall development in both strains; differences were observed with greater beating frequency and less inter-limb coordination in 129/sv, suggesting that 129/sv had a different maturation process. Performance on the rotarod by young adult C57Bl6/j gradually improved between 1 and 3 months, but then declined with age; performance on the treadmill also declined with an age-related increase in fatigability. Overall performance by 129/sv mice was lower than C57Bl6/j, and the age-related pattern of change was different, with 129/sv having relatively stable performance over time. Inter-strain differences and their possible causes, in particular the role of dopaminergic pathways, are discussed together with repercussions affecting mutant phenotyping procedures.

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