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Physiol Behav. 2004 Dec 15;83(3):531-41.

Age- and sex-related disturbance in a battery of sensorimotor and cognitive tasks in Kunming mice.

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Department of Neurology, Anhui Geriatric Institute, the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230022, PR China.


A battery of tasks, i.e. beam walking, open field, tightrope, radial six-arm water maze (RAWM), novel-object recognition and olfactory discrimination, was used to determine whether there was age- and sex-related memory deterioration in Kunming (KM) mice, and whether these tasks are independent or correlated with each other. Two age groups of KM mice were used: a younger group (7-8 months old, 12 males and 11 females) and an older group (17-18 months old, 12 males and 12 females). The results showed that the spatial learning ability and memory in the RAWM were lower in older female KM mice relative to younger female mice and older male mice. Consistent with this, in the novel-object recognition task, a non-spatial cognitive task, older female mice but not older male mice had impairment of short-term memory. In olfactory discrimination, another non-spatial task, the older mice retained this ability. Interestingly, female mice performed better than males, especially in the younger group. The older females exhibited sensorimotor impairment in the tightrope task and low locomotor activity in the open-field task. Moreover, older mice spent a longer time in the peripheral squares of the open-field than younger ones. The non-spatial cognitive performance in the novel-object recognition and olfactory discrimination tasks was related to performance in the open-field, whereas the spatial cognitive performance in the RAWM was not related to performance in any of the three sensorimotor tasks. These results suggest that disturbance of spatial learning and memory, as well as selective impairment of non-spatial learning and memory, existed in older female KM mice.

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