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Impaired Spatial Reorientation in the 3xTg-AD Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease


In early Alzheimer's disease (AD) spatial navigation is impaired; however, the precise cause of this impairment is unclear. Recent evidence suggests that getting lost is one of the first impairments to emerge in AD. It is possible that getting lost represents a failure to use distal cues to get oriented in space. Therefore, we set out to look for impaired use of distal cues for spatial orientation in a mouse model of amyloidosis (3xTg-AD). To do this, we trained mice to shuttle to the end of a track and back to an enclosed start box to receive a water reward. Then, mice were trained to stop in an unmarked reward zone to receive a brain stimulation reward. The time required to remain in the zone for a reward was increased across training, and the track was positioned in a random start location for each trial. We found that 6-month female, but not 3-month female, 6-month male, or 12-month male, 3xTg-AD mice were impaired. 6-month male and female mice had only intracellular pathology and male mice had less pathology, particularly in the dorsal hippocampus. Thus, AD may cause spatial disorientation as a result of impaired use of landmarks.

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