Gait analysis in a pre- and post-ischemic stroke biomedical pig model

Kylee Jo Duberstein, Simon R. Platt, Shannon P. Holmes, C. Robert Dove, Elizabeth W. Howerth, Marc Kent, Steven L. Stice, William D. Hill, David C. Hess, Franklin D. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Severity of neural injury including stroke in human patients, as well as recovery from injury, can be assessed through changes in gait patterns of affected individuals. Similar quantification of motor function deficits has been measured in rodent animal models of such injuries. However, due to differences in fundamental structure of human and rodent brains, there is a need to develop a large animal model to facilitate treatment development for neurological conditions. Porcine brain structure is similar to that of humans, and therefore the pig may make a more clinically relevant animal model. The current study was undertaken to determine key gait characteristics in normal biomedical miniature pigs and dynamic changes that occur post-neural injury in a porcine middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion ischemic stroke model. Yucatan miniature pigs were trained to walk through a semi-circular track and were recorded with high speed cameras to detect changes in key gait parameters. Analysis of normal pigs showed overall symmetry in hindlimb swing and stance times, forelimb stance time, along with step length, step velocity, and maximum hoof height on both fore and hindlimbs. A subset of pigs were again recorded at 7, 5 and 3. days prior to MCA occlusion and then at 1, 3, 5, 7, 14 and 30. days following surgery. MRI analysis showed that MCA occlusion resulted in significant infarction. Gait analysis indicated that stroke resulted in notable asymmetries in both temporal and spatial variables. Pigs exhibited lower maximum front hoof height on the paretic side, as well as shorter swing time and longer stance time on the paretic hindlimb. These results support that gait analysis of stroke injury is a highly sensitive detection method for changes in gait parameters in pig.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Feb 10 2014


  • Gait analysis
  • Motor function
  • Neural injury
  • Pig
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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