Transgenic Tg2576 mice overexpressing human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) are a widely used Alzheimer’s disease (AD) mouse model to evaluate treatment effects on amyloid beta (Aβ) pathology and cognition. Tg2576 mice on a B6;SJL background strain carry a recessive rd1 mutation that leads to early retinal degeneration and visual impairment in homozygous carriers. This can impair performance in behavioral tests that rely on visual cues, and thus, affect study results. Therefore, B6;SJL/Tg2576 mice were systematically backcrossed with 129S6/SvEvTac mice resulting in 129S6/Tg2576 mice that lack the rd1 mutation. 129S6/Tg2576 mice do not develop retinal degeneration but still show Aβ accumulation in the brain that is comparable to the original B6;SJL/Tg2576 mouse. However, comprehensive studies on cognitive decline in 129S6/Tg2576 mice are limited. In this study, we used two dementia mouse models on a 129S6 background—scopolamine-treated 129S6/SvEvTac mice (3–5 month-old) and transgenic 129S6/Tg2576 mice (11–13 month-old)–to establish a behavioral test battery for assessing learning and memory. The test battery consisted of five tests to evaluate different aspects of cognitive impairment: a Y-Maze forced alternation task, a novel object recognition test, the Morris water maze, the radial arm water maze, and a Y-maze spontaneous alternation task. We first established this behavioral test battery with the scopolamine-induced dementia model using 129S6/SvEvTac mice and then evaluated 129S6/Tg2576 mice using the same testing protocol. Both models showed distinctive patterns of cognitive impairment. Together, the non-invasive behavioral test battery presented here allows detecting cognitive impairment in scopolamine-treated 129S6/SvEvTac mice and in transgenic 129S6/Tg2576 mice. Due to the modular nature of this test battery, more behavioral tests, e.g. invasive assays to gain additional cognitive information, can easily be added.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in PLOS ONE, v. 11, no. 1, e0147733, p. 1-23.

© 2016 Wolf et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The project was supported by grant number 1R01AG039621 from the National Institute on Aging (to AMSH); statistical analysis was supported by the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Biostatistics and Data Management Core (grant number: P30 AG028383).

journal.pone.0147733.s001.TIFF (5286 kB)
S1 Fig. Morris Water Maze Individual Swim Paths for Scopolamine-Demented Mice.

journal.pone.0147733.s002.TIFF (3978 kB)
S2 Fig. Morris Water Maze Individual Swim Paths for 129S6/Tg2576 Mice.

journal.pone.0147733.s003.TIFF (3760 kB)
S3 Fig. Novel Object Recognition Test in 4-month old WT and Tg2576 mice.