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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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Department 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.

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