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Behav Neurosci. 2011 Dec;125(6):871-8. doi: 10.1037/a0026033.

Reevaluating hippocampus-dependent learning in FVB/N mice.

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Department of Physiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611-3008, USA.


The FVB/N (FVB) mouse has been a popular background strain for constructing transgenic mice. However, behavioral phenotyping of the resultant mice is complicated, due to severe visual impairment in the FVB background strain. Previous studies reported cognitive impairments with the FVB strain, suggesting the background as unsuitable for behavioral analysis. In this study, we compared FVB mice to the well-characterized C57BL/6 (B6) strain in a battery of hippocampus-dependent tasks that had several nonvisual cues. The tasks included: trace eyeblink conditioning, spontaneous alternation in the Y maze, social recognition, trace and contextual fear conditioning, and odor habituation-dishabituation. FVB mice were able to learn all the tasks, often to similar levels as B6 mice. In contrast to previous reports, our data suggest FVB mice are not cognitively deficient with temporal memory tasks, when the tasks do not rely heavily upon vision. Thus, the FVB strain may be used as the genetic background for behavioral phenotyping when nonvisual hippocampal-dependent tasks are utilized.

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