Quantitative measurement of interresponse times to assess forelimb motor function in rats

Manuel F. Gonzalez, Ann Poncelet, Janet E. Loken, Frank R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Eight rats were trained to use their left paw to rapidly press the right lever of an operant chamber once and the left lever twice to obtain a food reward. Between-levers interresponse times and same lever interresponse times were measured daily for several weeks before and after bilateral removal of frontal motor/sensory cortex. This surgery resulted in a permanent deficit in most rats' ability to rapidly alternate between levers, but resulted in only a temporary deficit in their ability to rapidly press the same lever. Sham surgery and removal of hindlimb motor cortex had little immediate effect on interresponse times. The data demonstrate that sequential motor behavior tested in the between-levers tasks is chronically affected by cortical lesions, but the speed of the same repetitive movement tested in the same lever task is not. Measuring the time to rapidly alternate between two different levers, therefore, provides a quantitative method for measuring acute and chronic forelimb motor deficits due to motor cortex injury in rats which could be applied to any mammal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Motor behavioral deficit
  • Operant behavior
  • Rat motor cortex lesion
  • Rodent motor cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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