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Neurosci Lett. 1998 May 15;247(2-3):171-4.

Impaired short- and long-term memory in Ts65Dn mice, a model for Down syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.


Ts65Dn (TS), control littermates (CO) and Swiss (SW) male mice were tested in the elevated plus-maze and in the Morris water maze (MWM) for memory evaluation. In the plus-maze, each mouse was placed at the end of an open arm and initial freezing and the time to enter into an enclosed arm (transfer latency) were measured. SW mice decreased both measures over repeated trials, whereas no decrease of freezing was observed in CO mice, thus suggesting increased emotionality in this group. Compared to CO mice, TS mice showed less initial freezing, shorter transfer latencies, and spent less time in enclosed arms, suggesting a reduced ability to habituate or to inhibit behaviour. Animals were also submitted to a learning-set paradigm consisting of reaching a new platform position each day in the MWM. Two training phases (separated by a resting period of 6 weeks), each including eight acquisition and four cued sessions, were performed (each session consisting of four pairs of trials). CO and SW mice already reached an asymptotic performance by the second day of the first phase whereas TS mice did not achieve that level until the second training phase. The progression over trials indicated that CO and SW animals learned the new platform position between trials 1 and 2 of each session, whereas TS animals failed to do it and had more difficulties to find the platform when it was placed in the centre of the pool as compared to the other positions (SW, NE, E). The results suggest that TS mice show working memory impairments in addition to long-term memory deficits, although extensive training appeared to facilitate TS mice to achieve a level of performance similar to their control littermates. This represents another aspect of the cognitive deficits shown by TS mice: a mouse model of the human Down syndrome.

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