A novel device to measure power grip forces in squirrel monkeys

Scott D. Bury, Erik J. Plautz, Wen Liu, Barbara M. Quaney, Carl W. Luchies, Rebecca A. Maletsky, Randolph J. Nudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Understanding the neural bases for grip force behaviors in both normal and neurologically impaired animals is imperative prior to improving treatments and therapeutic approaches. The present paper describes a novel device for the assessment of power grip forces in squirrel monkeys. The control of grasping and object manipulation represents a vital aspect of daily living by allowing the performance of a wide variety of complex hand movements. However, following neurological injury such as stroke, these grasping behaviors are often severely affected, resulting in persistent impairments in strength, grip force modulation and kinematic hand control. While there is a significant clinical focus on rehabilitative strategies to address these issues, there exists the need for translational animal models. In the study presented here, we describe a simple grip force device designed for use in non-human primates, which provides detailed quantitative information regarding distal grip force dynamics. Adult squirrel monkeys were trained to exceed a specific grip force threshold, which was rewarded with a food pellet. One of these subjects then received an infarct of the M1 hand representation area. Results suggest that the device provides detailed and reliable information on grip behaviors in healthy monkeys and can detect deficits in grip dynamics in monkeys with cortical lesions (significantly longer release times). Understanding the physiological and neuroanatomical aspects of grasping function following neurological injury may lead to more effective rehabilitative interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-270
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2009


  • Grip force
  • Hand
  • Monkey
  • Power grip
  • Primates
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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