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The pole test is a widely used test to assess basal ganglia related movement disorders in mice. The procedure evaluates the ability of a mouse to grasp and maneuver on a pole in order to descend to its home cage. Mice are trained to complete the pole test over two training trials. Mice are placed with their head oriented upward on top of the pole. The animals will often naturally orient themselves downward and descend the length of the pole in order to return to their home cage. The time required for the animals to orient themselves facing in a downward direction (time to T turn) and to descend to the base of the pole (total time) is recorded for five trials.
The pole test is suited for studies with mice. The procedure generally takes about a week to complete in consideration of training days that are involved. Since it is non-invasive it can be repeated over time and is well suited to incorporate into chronic studies over several time points.