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Neurosci Lett. 2012 Jul 26;522(1):57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.06.016. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Spatial and non-spatial performance in mutant mice devoid of otoliths.

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Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, U 1075 COMETE, Caen 14032, France.


Vestibular deafferentation induces strong spatial memory impairments in rodents and dorsal hippocampal atrophy in humans, suggesting that vestibular information plays an important role in spatial-memory processes. However, previous studies have not discriminated between the role of the semi-circular canals, gravisensors and cochlear sense organ in such impairments due to complete damage of the vestibular and cochlear organs in their models of lesions. This is the first time that mutant mice (het/het) devoid of otoconia (lack of vestibular gravisensors) have been evaluated in behavioral tests. Results show different levels of achievement in the tests. The rotarod and elevated plus-maze were not executable, the rotarod being a safer test for differentiating the het/het mouse phenotype compared to the more anxiogenic swimming pool. Y-maze and place recognition tests were achieved, but chance values were not reached in the het/het group. Additionally, het/het mice presented uncommon behavior when faced with objects during the object recognition test. Impairments in het/het mice in the Y-maze test suggest a crucial role of the vestibular gravisensors in spatial-memory processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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