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Balance Beam - Maze Engineers

Balance Beam - Maze Engineers

The balance beam is a narrow ‘walking bridge’ for mice / rats to walk across to test sensorineural balance and coordination.

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Balance Beam - Maze Engineers

The balance beam is a narrow ‘walking bridge’ for mice / rats to walk across to test sensorineural balance and coordination. The beam generally sits between two elevated platforms with platforms to hold either mice or rats. Interchangeable beams can be used in thinner and thinner intervals.
The essential components include:

  • End platform
  • Beams
  • (Optional) Start Platform
  • (Optional) Encatchment: A soft encatchment to prevent harm on the fall
  • Holes (~3mm diameter) along beam center to allow insertion of Protruding pegs
  • Tapered Shape
  • Second lower flat beam below main beam may be added to assist compromised animals. Detachable. Please inquire if needed.
  • Convenient hinges along beam to allow flexible transport.

The balance beam is a test of motor coordination and balance in rodents. The test assesses sensorimotor function following motor cortex injury, traumatic brain injury, gamma-aminobutyric acid infusion into the frontal cortex and in rodent models of stroke (reviewed by; Carter et al., 2001). In addition, this test can be used to evaluate the effects of aging and to characterize transgenic animals.

Rodent performance on the beam may improve with time after injury, with the use of drugs and with motor experience (Gentile et al., 1978, Feeney et al., 1982, Brailowsky et al., 1986). Amelioration of motor coordination after injury may be the result of a transient neural loss-of-function in areas remote from but connected to the area of injury.

The balance beam test requires the use of one or more narrow beams with varying dimensions and elevated from the ground. Avoidance stimuli should be used at the start end of the beam. A goal box that serves as escape from the stimuli should be placed at the opposite end. The trials should be video recorded.

Results can be presented as latency to traverse the beam, number of foot slips and mean score if using a grading system (Feeney et al., 1982, Metz et al., 2000).

This test is widely used to assess fine motor deficits. It enables both short and long studies with multiple timepoints. Furthermore, it is inexpensive, methodologically unsophisticated and allows for substantial modifications of equipment and experimental protocol to fit diverse study designs.

More information: https://mazeengineers.com/portfolio/balance-beam/

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