Forelimb stepping test software development for nigrostriatal dopamine system functionality assessment and motor parameter evaluation.
AbstractParkinson disease (PD) characteristic motor dysfunctions are tremors, stiffness, bradykinesia and gait disorders. We use an experimental adult male rat model of hemiparkinsonism and investigate chronic estrogen administration effects in the functionality of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Forelimb akinesia in rats is analogous to limb akinesia and gait problems seen in patients with PD. We have developed a software to test adjusting steps, stepping time, step length and initiation time. The implementation tracks each animal forelimb movement and measures those parameters. It performs statistical analysis and presents data in barcharts or Excel sheets. The software was validated by correlating manual and automated adjusting steps. Estrogen treated animals exhibit a higher compensatory mech- anism to motor dysfunction, improving the number of adjusting steps and showing less bradykinesia. Also, there is a beneficial effect of estrogen related to a higher average energy that could be enhancing stepping time and forelimb movement magnitude. In conclusion, this software development and implementation is a worthy tool to in vivo infer on forelimb akinesia. By applying it, we obtain a new sensitive approach in the effect of estrogen as a neuroprotective drug in PD as it restores balance, mobility, speed and also diminishes bradykinesia.