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Neurosci Lett. 2010 Oct 11;483(2):148-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.07.082. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

Cued and spatial learning in the water maze: equivalent learning in male and female mice.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, USA.


Mammals navigate a complex environment using a variety of strategies, which can operate in parallel and even compete with one another. We have recently described a variant water maze task in which two of these strategies, hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and striatum-dependent cued learning, can be dissociated. Male rodents perform better at some spatial learning tasks, while female rodents more readily learn certain striatum-dependent behavioral strategies. We therefore predicted that sex would differentially influence spatial and cued learning in the water maze. We trained adult male and female C57Bl/6 mice for 7 days in the two-cue variant of the water maze, with probe trials on days 5 and 7. In two independent experiments, males and females performed similarly, with both groups showing good spatial learning after 5 and 7 days of training, and both groups showing trend-level cued learning after 5 days and robust learning after 7. Therefore, contrary to our hypothesis, sex does not significantly affect cued or spatial learning in this task.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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