Are you looking for a way to automatically and non-invasively investigate motor learning and performance in mice? Researchers at the Erasmus MC (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) developed the ErasmusLadder to do just that. For the first time, this system automates the study of motor performance and motor learning, and effectively discriminates between cerebellar and non-cerebellar motor deficits in mice. Now it is available to every lab.
Find out about the different application areas of ErasmusLadder, such as cerebellar ataxia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer and even autism by taking a look at this list of selected publications.
ErasmusLadder is an instrument that consists of two goal boxes with a horizontal ladder in between. The touch-sensitive rungs of the ladder make it possible to measure step durations and step types. Over several test sessions, the ErasmusLadder software records the motor performance and the motor learning ability of mice. In the second phase of testing, an unexpected object – a rung raised above stepping surface – poses a sudden challenge. How the animal learns to cope with this challenge is a measure of reflexive motor learning and a reflection of cerebellar functioning.
The instrument is accompanied by dedicated ErasmusLadder software which controls the experiments by sending the protocol and start command to the apparatus. Sessions are performed automatically, and afterwards, the data is sent back to the software for storage and analysis. Read more about the software here.
Many neurological conditions involve the loss of motor coordination, making this an important subject of study in neuroscience research. The cerebellum plays a critical role in motor coordination, precision, and accurate timing. Ataxia – the impairment of this coordination – can result if cerebellar function is compromised.
ErasmusLadder is able to discriminate between motor performance and associative motor learning in a fully automated manner.