A novel radial water tread maze tracks age-related cognitive decline in mice.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Pathobiology of aging & age related diseases, Volume 3 (2013)


2013, October 2013, Public Health Sciences Division


There is currently no treatment and cure for age-related dementia and cognitive impairment in humans. Mice suffer from age-related cognitive decline just as people do, but assessment is challenging because of cumbersome and at times stressful performance tasks. We developed a novel radial water tread (RWT) maze and tested male C57BL/6 (B6) and C57BL/6 x Balb/c F1 (CB6F1) mice at ages 4, 12, 20, and 28 months. B6 mice showed a consistent learning experience and memory retention that gradually decreased with age. CB6F1 mice showed a moderate learning experience in the 4 and 12 month groups, which was not evident in the 20 and 28 month groups. In conclusion, CB6F1 mice showed more severe age-related cognitive impairment compared to B6 mice and might be a suitable model for intervention studies. In addition, the RWT maze has a number of operational advantages compared to currently accepted tasks and can be used to assess age-related cognition impairment in B6 and CB6F1 mice as early as 12 months of age.