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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 235354, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/235354
Research Article

Gait Disturbances in Dystrophic Hamsters

1Mouse Specifics, Inc., Boston, MA 02109, USA
2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3Bio Breeders, Inc., Watertown, MA 02472, USA

Received 6 October 2010; Accepted 8 November 2010

Academic Editor: Oreste Gualillo

Copyright © 2011 Thomas G. Hampton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The delta-sarcoglycan-deficient hamster is an excellent model to study muscular dystrophy. Gait disturbances, important clinically, have not been described in this animal model. We applied ventral plane videography (DigiGait) to analyze gait in BIO TO-2 dystrophic and BIO F1B control hamsters walking on a transparent treadmill belt. Stride length was ~13% shorter ( 𝑃 < . 0 5 ) in TO-2 hamsters at 9 months of age compared to F1B hamsters. Hindlimb propulsion duration, an indicator of muscle strength, was shorter in 9-month-old TO-2 ( 2 4 7 Β± 8  ms) compared to F1B hamsters ( 2 7 2 Β± 1 1  ms; 𝑃 < . 0 5 ). Braking duration, reflecting generation of ground reaction forces, was delayed in 9-month-old TO-2 ( 1 4 7 Β± 6  ms) compared to F1B hamsters ( 1 2 6 Β± 8  ms; 𝑃 < . 0 5 ). Hindpaw eversion, evidence of muscle weakness, was greater in 9-month-old TO-2 than in F1B hamsters ( 1 7 . 7 Β± 1 . 2 ∘ versus 8 . 7 Β± 1 . 6 ∘ ; 𝑃 < . 0 5 ). Incline and decline walking aggravated gait disturbances in TO-2 hamsters at 3 months of age. Several gait deficits were apparent in TO-2 hamsters at 1 month of age. Quantitative gait analysis demonstrates that dystrophic TO-2 hamsters recapitulate functional aspects of human muscular dystrophy. Early detection of gait abnormalities in a convenient animal model may accelerate the development of therapies for muscular dystrophy.