Behavioral outcome in rats with spinal cord injury (SCI) is the most important factor for evaluating the extent of injury and treatment efficacy. For this purpose, a number of behavioral testing methods can be used. In this review, 35 individual locomotor, motor, sensory, sensory-motor, autonomic or electrophysiological behavioral tests, their weaknesses and strengths, testing conditions, the need for habituation, pre-training and/or food deprivation, methods for increasing the animals' skills, systematic testing protocols and methods for selecting the proper behavioral tests for particular injury models are discussed on the basis of a retrospective analysis of scientific studies published from 1995 to 2007. This review is primarily targeted towards researchers outside the field or to researchers new to the field of SCI. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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