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Comp Med. 2006 Jun;56(3):196-201.

'Return to home cage' as a reward for maze learning in young and old genetically heterogeneous mice.

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  • 1Center for Developmental and Health Genetics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.


Recent studies have shown that 'return to home cage' can serve as a reward for maze learning in adult male mice. The present study examined whether the same reward is an effective motivator of learning in young and old mice and included females in the study design. We tested 25- and 65-d-old HS mice and 85- and 800-d-old B6D2F2 mice in a Lashley III maze. Return to home cage motivated maze acquisition in all groups. Compared with 65-d-old HS mice, 25-d-olds acquired the maze more slowly, took longer to achieve the test criterion, and showed increased latency to reach the goal box. There was no difference between 85- and 800-d-old B6D2F2 mice in rate of acquisition. This reward procedure may reduce the potentially confounding effects of deprivation or aversive stimuli on maze performance and may be suitable as a motivational procedure for a wide range of subject groups.

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