Mouse VOR Studies

The mouse is often the animal of choice for studies of development or aging in mammals and the genetics associated with these processes. The laboratory is developing new methods to rapidly characterize vestibular reflexes in mice and to quantitatively assess their functionality as an adjunct to studies of developmental or aging processes in these animals. We have developed a technique to measure the vestibulo-collic reflex (VCR) in mice that does not involve surgical intervention (Takemura and King, Exp. Brain Res. 2005), but which quantitatively assesses the VCR. We use this method to assess changes in vestibular function with age or as the result of administration of an ototoxic drug. VCR measurements have also proved useful in assessing the functional implications of a genetic defect in BMP4 heterozygous null mice (in collaboration with Marsha Blauwkamp).