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Brief Research Report ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00193

Operant assessment of DMTP spatial working memory in mice

  • 1University of Ulm, Germany
  • 2ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Working memory (WM) is required to bridge the time between the moment of sensory perception and the usage of the acquired information for subsequent actions. Its frequent and pharmacoresistent impairment in mental health disorders urges the development of rodent paradigms through back-translation of human WM tests, ideally avoiding the confounds of alternation-based assays. Here we show, that mice can acquire a delayed-matching-to-position (DMTP) operant spatial WM paradigm that is akin to the combined attention and memory (CAM) task previously developed for rats, and that relies on a 5-choice wall (5-CSWM). Requiring ca. 3 mo of daily training with a non-illuminated operant box in the default state, mice could attain a performance level of ≥ 70 % choice accuracy with short (2 s) delays in the DMTP 5-CSWM task. Performance decreased with extended delays, as expected for working memory processes. Modafinil (15 and 30 mg/kg) and guanfacine (0.3 and 1 mg/kg) showed no consistent efficacy in enhancing task performance. We also found, that mice did not improve beyond chance level, when trained in the DNMTP-version of the 5-CSWM. Our results outline the methodical possibility and constraints of assessing spatial working memory in mice with an operant paradigm that provides high control over potentially confounding variables, such as cue-directed attention, motivation or mediating strategies like body-positioning.

Keywords: spatial working memory (SWM), delayed-matching-to-position, Guanfacine, Modafinil, combined attention and memory (CAM) task

Received: 14 May 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Stefano L. Sensi, Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Italy

Reviewed by:

Alberto Granzotto, Aging Sciences and Translational Medicine Center (CeSI-MeT), Italy
Christopher Heath, The Open University, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Teutsch and Kätzel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Dennis Kätzel, University of Ulm, Ulm, 89081, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany,