Cognitive, learning and memory domain

Novel object recognition – This test, by evaluating the differences in the exploration time of novel and familiar objects, provides a measure for cognition, especially for recognition and episodic memory. The animal is put inside a transparent plexiglass box 50cm all dimensions, with two similar “familiar” objects for a habituation stage of 10 minutes. After an hour the animal is re-entered to the arena for a 5 minute test session, now with one “familiar” and one different “novel” object. Duration of time spent near each object, and the frequency and number of approaches are tracked.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Bevins RA, Besheer J (2006) Object recognition in rats and mice: a one-trial non-matching-to-sample learning task to study ‘recognition memory’. Nat Protoc 1(3):1306-1311


Radial arm water maze – Evaluates working memory, spatial learning and cognitive ability. The apparatus consists of 6 arms, 30 cm in length converging on a central 40X40 cm pool, filled with water to cover a plexiglass platform. On day 1 of the protocol the animal is trained to locate the platform (15 trials of up to 1 minute, alternating between hidden and visible platformS). On day 2 (test) all 15 trials are with the platform hidden. Entry into the wrong arm or non-entry into the correct arm after 15 seconds are designated as errors. Number of errors for each animal is tracked and scored.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Brownlow ML, Benner L, D’Agostino D, Gordon MN, Morgan D (2013) Ketogenic diet improves motor performance but not cognition in two mouse models of alzheimer’s pathology. PLoS One 8(9):e75713


Spontaneous alterations in T-maze – This test evaluate cognition, especially spatial and working memory. The animal is inserted into the start arm of a T shaped maze and allowed to move freely. On trial 1, the animal is allowed to enter either arm, and thereafter confined there for 5 seconds. Then it is returned to the start arm and the subsequent arm choice is recorded (trial 2), followed by a further 13 choice trials (in total 15 trials). Percentage of animals per group re-entering the same arm is an indicator of a repetitive behavior.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

References:

Gerlai R (1998) A new continuous alternation task in t-maze detects hippocampal dysfunction in mice. A strain comparison and lesion study. Behav Brain Res 95(1):91-101

Rosenmann H, Grigoriadis N, Eldar-Levy H, Avital A, Rozenstein L, Touloumi O, Behar L, Ben-Hur T, Avraham Y, Berry E, Segal M, Ginzburg I, Abramsky O.(2008)   A novel transgenic mouse expressing double mutant tau driven by its natural promoter exhibits tauopathy characteristics. Eur Neurol 212(1): 71-84

 


Morris water maze – This test evaluate cognitive ability, especially short term (cortical) and longer term (hippocampal) working memory and spatial learning. The test apparatus is a round metal pool, filled with an opaque water to a height that covers a plexiglass platform 16X16 cm located 20 cm from the pool edge. In acquisition trials (4 consecutive for each animal, repeated for 5 days), the time required for the animal to find the platform is tracked and recorded. Reversal trials consist of time taken to find the platform relocated to the opposite side of pool. Probe trials consist of trials in clear water, without the platform, in which the time spent by the animal in each of four quadrants of the pool is tracked and recorded.

[This test is applicable to rats (pool diameter 140cm, height 60 cm) and mice (pool diameter 120 cm, height 40 cm)]

References:

Mutlu O, Ulak G, Celikyurt IK, Tanyeri P, Akar FY, Erden F (2011) Effects of olanzapine and clozapine on memory acquisition, consolidation and retrieval in mice using the elevated plus maze test. Neurosci Lett 501(3): 143-147

Shiryaev N, Jouroukhin Y, Giladi E, Polyzoidou E, Grigoriadis NC, Rosenmann H, Gozes I (2009). NAP protects memory, increases soluble tau and reduces tau hyperphosphorylation in a tauopathy model. Neurobiol Dis 34(2) 381-388


Cued and context fear conditioning – This test aims to evaluate fear memory- contextual (hippocampus mediated) and cued (amygdale mediated). The test device consists of two compartments and has a grid floor capable of generating low electrical current for a given time period. The animal is put inside the device and receives a 2 second, 0.5 mA shock coupled to a tone for two repeats. After 48 hours, the freezing time of the animal after exposure to either the acoustic tone (cued fear conditioning) or the visual context (context fear conditioning) is measured out of a total 5 minute exposure.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Ben Menachem-Zidon O, Avital A, Ben-Menahem Y, Goshen I, Kreisel T, Shmueli EM, Segal M, Ben Hur T, Yirmiya R (2011) Astrocytes support hippocampal-dependent memory and long-term potentiation via interleukin-1 signaling. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 25(5):1008-16


Y-maze memory – This test evaluates cognitive capabilities such as working memory, reference memory and spatial learning and memory. The device consists of three arms (width 10 cm, length 30 cm, height 17 cm), equipped with various in-maze visual cues. During training one arm is closed and the animal is placed in the opposite arm and left to explore the two arms. After 1 hour the animal is allowed to explore all three arms, and latency to enter each arm, time spent in each arm and frequency of arm entries is tracked and scored.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Duffy L, Cappas E, Lai D, Boucher AA, Karl T (2010) Cognition in transmembrane domain neuregulin 1 mutant mice. Neuroscience. 170:800-7


Attentional set shifting- This test aims to evaluate animal ability of the animal to learn rules associated with finding food, and its cognitive flexibility in re-learning as these rules are changed. Animals are first acclimated to a plexiglass chamber. Thereafter, two bowls are presented with different odors/mediums, one of them baited. Trials consist of the animal able to discern which of the cups contains food using simple discrimination (odor and medium), compound discrimination rules. Thereafter, the animals are required to adjust to changes in the location of the food (from one bowl to the other) according to intra-dimensional (same dimension- odor or medium change), and extra-dimensional (reward for medium instead of odor and vice versa) rules. For each session, number of correct choices and errors are recorded.

[This test is applicable to rats and mice]

Reference:

Young JW, Powell SB, Geyer MA, Jeste DV, Risbrough VB (2010) The mouse attentional-set-shifting task: A method for assaying successful cognitive aging? Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 10(2):243-251


Eight arm maze – Evaluates working memory, spatial learning and cognitive ability. Using water deprivation (by limiting water consumption overnight) and a reward of 50 mcl water at end of each arm, each animal is introduced into the maze until either completing visiting all eight arms or 25 trial (whichever comes first). The lower number of arm entries needed to complete visit to all arms- the better the cognitive score. This procedure is repeated for five consecutive days.

Reference:

Rosenmann H, Grigoriadis N, Eldar-Levy H, Avital A, Rozenstein L, Touloumi O, Behar L, Ben-Hur T, Avraham Y, Berry E, Segal M, Ginzburg I, Abramsky O.(2008) A novel transgenic mouse expressing double mutant tau driven by its natural promoter exhibits tauopathy characteristics. Eur Neurol 212(1): 71-84