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W. J. XU, A. EDWARDS, K. COX, K. CIRILLO, J. A. AVILA, S. RAMBOZ


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by dopaminergic neuronal loss in the substantia nigra with accumulation of α synuclein containing Lewy bodies. A number of rodent models of PD have been created to recapitulate different aspects of the disease, among these the Line 61 animal, overexpressing the human wild-type alpha-synuclein driven by the murine Thy-1 promoter, in particular has been used extensively to model α synuclein pathology [Rockenstein et al, 2002]. While previous literature has characterized the male Line 61 mice and described a gradual disease progression, female counterparts of this model have been less well studied due to the linkage of the mutation to the X chromosome. In the present study, we performed a number of behavioral assessments in the female Line 61 including wire hang and tapered beam. We also employed a proprietary NeuroCube® assessment to evaluate quantifiable, subtle changes in patterned movement in these animals. This system records and calculates several aspects of ambulation and compares them to detect emerging movement impairments that may otherwise go unnoticed. Results suggest that a mild motor phenotype is present in the female Line 61 compared to both male Line 61 as well as WT counterparts. Implications of these findings as well as use of the NeuroCube® assessment as a tool in the evaluation of rodent models of disease are discussed.