Locomotive changes are often associated with disease or injury, and these changes can be quantified through gait analysis. Gait analysis has been applied to preclinical studies, providing quantitative behavioural assessment with a reasonable clinical analogue. However, available gait analysis technology for small animals is somewhat limited. Furthermore, technological and analytical challenges can limit the effectiveness of preclinical gait analysis. The Gait Analysis Instrumentation and Technology Optimized for Rodents (GAITOR) Suite is designed to increase the accessibility of preclinical gait analysis to researchers, facilitating hardware and software customization for broad applications. Here, the GAITOR Suite's utility is demonstrated in 4 models: a monoiodoacetate (MIA) injection model of joint pain, a sciatic nerve injury model, an elbow joint contracture model, and a spinal cord injury model. The GAITOR Suite identified unique compensatory gait patterns in each model, demonstrating the software's utility for detecting gait changes in rodent models of highly disparate injuries and diseases. Robust gait analysis may improve preclinical model selection, disease sequelae assessment, and evaluation of potential therapeutics. Our group has provided the GAITOR Suite as an open resource to the research community at www.GAITOR.org, aiming to promote and improve the implementation of gait analysis in preclinical rodent models.
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