Movement Disorders

Movement disorders are one of the most common causes of disability worldwide. With clinical manifestations being mainly tremor and
motor coordination, animal models are used to provide improved understanding of 
motor symptom alterations and impairments
affecting quality life, such as sleep alterations or autonomic
system dysregulation (dysautonomia).

Movement disorders can be classified according to their clinical manifestations and prevalence

Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple system Atrophy
PD and MSA are part of a group of motor disorders
generally defined as Parkinsonism. They are slowly
progressing, neurodegenerative diseases which result
from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

A neurological condition where the basic underlying problem involves over-activity of the main muscles needed for a movement, extra activation of other muscles that are not needed for the movement, and simultaneous activation of muscles that work against each other.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
RLS is often an unpleasant feeling in the legs that improves somewhat with moving them. Occasionally the arms may also be affected.

 Movement Disorders_Blue

Commonly Used Species in Movement Disorder Research

Mouse Silhouette




non-human primate

Nonhuman Primates



Technical Note

Download your Complimentary Whitepaper

This paper provides researchers with the following information
a) a summary of the most commonly researched neurological disease and psychiatric disorders
b) observations regarding in vivo physiologic endpoints of interest
c) the products used to collect these endpoints.

CNS, Neuroscience, Preclinical Neuroscience, Animal models of neuroscience, CNS animal models

DSI Solutions Help Movement Disorder Researchers Get Meaningful Answers Out of
Their Studies

Animal models provide insight into brain circuitry alterations associated with movement disorders that we are unable to perform in humans until post-mortem. Researchers are studying motor and non-motor
symptoms that are prevalent in movement disorders to better understand the pathophysiology and provide more relevant treatment options. DSI provides a wide range of validated physiological monitoring solutions to fit researcher needs during the many stages of their research. 

Click on a research area below to learn more about endpoints of interest collected in movement disorder studies.


Impairments of the autonomous system are very important biomarkers, as they occur prior to any manifestation of motor symptoms. The autonomic impairment can be quantified by measuring blood pressure and heart rate variability (HRV). Changes to these important endpoints are used in clinics for early disease detection and progression.1-3

Common Endpoints

Blood Pressure

Heart Rate Variability



Google Scholar Indexes 161 Publications Citing DSI, Cardiovascular and Parkinson or Dystonia or Restless Leg Syndrome


Behavioral assessments in animal models of movement disorders are incredibly valuable as they allow researchers to compare baseline performance to pathological and treated responses. Many of the tests conducted are used for motor and neuropsychological evaluations.

Common Endpoints

Basal Activity

Motor Coordination

Anxiety Behavior


Rotation Behavior

Spontaneous Pain

Cognitive Function Related to Memory

Startle Response


*Behavioral solutions are available from our Harvard Bioscience sister brands Panlab and Coulbourn Instruments. Reach out to us to learn more about how to incorporate these solutions into your current research set-up.

Google Scholar Indexes 1,869 Publications Citing Panlab and Parkinson or Dystonia or Restless Leg Syndrome

Google Scholar Indexes 1,400 Publications Citing Coulbourn Instruments and Parkinson or Dystonia or Restless Leg Syndrome


Researchers are measuring tremors in animal models of movement disorders using electromyography (EMG). Recently, a research group was able to characterize the bilateral hind limb EMG frequency and amplitudes components in a mouse model of dystonia.1 EMG is also often used in conjunction with electroencephalography (EEG) to get a better look at aberrant EEG patterns during sleep stages (sleep deprivation), a common symptom of movement disorders.2

Common Endpoints

Sleep Scoring (EEG & EMG)

Neural Activity and Behavior (Video-EEG)

Muscle and Motor Neuron Activity (EMG)




Google Scholar Indexes 187 Publications Citing DSI, EEG or EMG and Parkinson or Dystonia or Restless Leg Syndrome

Highlighted Publications

DeAndrade, M. P., Trongnetrpunya, A., Yokoi, F., Cheetham, C. C., Peng, N., Wyss, J. M., ... & Li, Y. (2016). Electromyographic evidence in support of a knock‐in mouse model of DYT1 Dystonia. Movement Disorders31(11), 1633-1639.

Dridi, H., Liu, X., Yuan, Q., Reiken, S., Yehya, M., Sittenfeld, L., ... & Thireau, J. (2020). Role of defective calcium regulation in cardiorespiratory dysfunction in Huntington’s diseaseJCI insight5(19).

HCHM, P. I., Wubben, J. A., Franke, S. K., Hofman, S., & AM, L. J. (2019). Involvement of the Red Nucleus in the Compensation of Parkinsonism may Explain why Primates can develop Stable Parkinson’s DiseaseScientific Reports (Nature Publisher Group)9(1).

Johnson, M. E., Bergkvist, L., Mercado, G., Stetzik, L., Meyerdirk, L., Wolfrum, E., ... & Wesson, D. W. (2020). Deficits in olfactory sensitivity in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease revealed by plethysmography of odor-evoked sniffingScientific Reports10(1), 1-13.

Kozak, R., Kiss, T., Dlugolenski, K., Johnson, D. E., Gorczyca, R. R., Kuszpit, K., ... & Volfson, D. (2020). Characterization of PF-6142, a Novel, Non-Catecholamine Dopamine Receptor D1 Agonist, in Murine and Nonhuman Primate Models of Dopaminergic ActivationFrontiers in Pharmacology11, 1005.

Mosley, R. L., Lu, Y., Olson, K. E., Machhi, J., Yan, W., Namminga, K. L., ... & Gendelman, H. E. (2019). A Synthetic Agonist to Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Receptor-2 Induces Regulatory T Cell Neuroprotective Activities in Models of Parkinson’s DiseaseFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience13, 421.

Wang, T. C., Ngampramuan, S., & Kotchabhakdi, N. (2016). Tiagabine treatment in kainic acid induced cerebellar lesion of dystonia rat modelExcli Journal15, 716.


  1. Haensch, C. A., Lerch, H., Jorg, J. & Isenmann, S. Cardiac denervation occurs independent of orthostatic hypotension and impaired heart rate variability in Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 15, 134-137, doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2008.04.031 (2009).
  2. Kuzdas, D. et al. Oligodendroglial alpha-synucleinopathy and MSA-like cardiovascular autonomic failure: experimental evidence. Exp Neurol 247, 531-536, doi:10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.02.002 (2013).
  3. Fleming, S. M. Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction in animal models of Parkinson's disease. J Parkinsons Dis 1, 321-327, doi:10.3233/JPD-2011-11042 (2011).
  4. DeAndrade, M. P. et al. Electromyographic evidence in support of a knock-in mouse model of DYT1 Dystonia. Mov Disord 31, 1633-1639, doi:10.1002/mds.26677 (2016).
  5. Verhave, P. S. et al. REM sleep behavior disorder in the marmoset MPTP model of early Parkinson disease. Sleep 34, 1119-1125, doi:10.5665/SLEEP.1174 (2011).