Minor changes (~0.1 m/s) in human gait speed are predictive of various measures of decline and can be used to identify at-risk individuals prior to further decline. These associations are possible due to an abundance of human clinical research. However, age-related gait changes are not well defined in rodents, even though rodents are used as the primary pre-clinical model for many disease states as well as aging research. Our study investigated the usefulness of a novel automated system, the CatWalk™ XT, to measure age-related differences in gait. Furthermore, age-related functional declines have been associated with decreases in the reduced to oxidized glutathione ratio leading to a pro-oxidizing cellular shift. Therefore the secondary aim of this study was to determine whether chronic glutathione deficiency led to exacerbated age-associated impairments. Groups of male and female wild-type (gclm+/+) and knock-out (gclm-/-) mice aged 4, 10 and 17 months were tested on the CatWalk and gait measurements recorded. Similar age-related declines in all measures of gait were observed in both males and females, and chronic glutathione depletion was associated with some delays in age-related declines, which were further exacerbated. In conclusion, the CatWalk is a useful tool to assess gait changes with age, and further studies will be required to identify the potential compensating mechanisms underlying the effects observed with the chronic glutathione depletion.
- Glutathione deficiency