Spatial learning by mice in three dimensions

Wilson, J. J., Harding, E., Fortier, M., James, B., Donnett, M., Kerslake, A., O'Leary, A., Zhang, N. and Jeffery, K. (2015) Spatial learning by mice in three dimensions. Behavioural Brain Research, 289, pp. 125-132. (doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.04.035) (PMID:25930216) (PMCID:PMC4451476)

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We tested whether mice can represent locations distributed throughout three-dimensional space, by developing a novel three-dimensional radial arm maze. The three-dimensional radial maze, or “radiolarian” maze, consists of a central spherical core from which arms project in all directions. Mice learn to retrieve food from the ends of the arms without omitting any arms or re-visiting depleted ones. We show here that mice can learn both a standard working memory task, in which all arms are initially baited, and also a reference memory version in which only a subset are ever baited. Comparison with a two-dimensional analogue of the radiolarian maze, the hexagon maze, revealed equally good working-memory performance in both mazes if all the arms were initially baited, but reduced working and reference memory in the partially baited radiolarian maze. This suggests intact three-dimensional spatial representation in mice over short timescales but impairment of the formation and/or use of long-term spatial memory of the maze. We discuss potential mechanisms for how mice solve the three-dimensional task, and reasons for the impairment relative to its two-dimensional counterpart, concluding with some speculations about how mammals may represent three-dimensional space.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jeffery, Professor Kate
Authors: Wilson, J. J., Harding, E., Fortier, M., James, B., Donnett, M., Kerslake, A., O'Leary, A., Zhang, N., and Jeffery, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Behavioural Brain Research
ISSN (Online):1872-7549
Published Online:27 April 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Behavioural Brain Research 289: 125-132
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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