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MorrisWaterMaze

A rat undergoing a Morris water maze test

In neuroscience, the Morris water maze is a behavioral procedure designed to test spatial memory. It was developed by neuroscientist Richard G. Morris in 1984, and is commonly used today to explore the role of the hippocampus in the formation of said spatial memories.

OverviewEdit

In the typical paradigm, a rat or mouse is placed into a small pool of water—back-end first to avoid stress, and facing the pool-side to avoid bias—which contains an escape platform hidden a few millimeters below the water surface. Visual cues, such as colored shapes, are placed around the pool in plain sight of the animal.

The pool is usually 4 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep. The pool can also be half-filled with water to 1 foot in depth. A sidewall above the waterline prevents the rat from being distracted by laboratory activity.

When released, the rat swims around the pool in search of an exit while various parameters are recorded, including the time spent in each quadrant of the pool, the time taken to reach the platform latency, and total distance traveled. The rat's escape from the water reinforces its desire to live, and on subsequent trials (with the platform in the same position) the rat is able to locate the platform more rapidly. This improvement in performance occurs because the rat has learned where the hidden platform is located relative to the conspicuous visual cues. After enough practice, a capable rat can swim directly from any release point to the platform.

Genetic basis of performanceEdit

Neurological correlates of performanceEdit

Neurochemical correlates of performanceEdit

Pharmacological manipulationEdit

Various drugs can be applied to test subjects before, during, or after maze training, which can reveal information about physical ability. For example rats treated with the NMDA receptor blocker APV perform poorly in the Morris water maze, suggesting that NMDA receptors play a poor role in physical ability [1]. And since long-term potentiation -- a potential biological mechanism for physical ability -- also requires NMDA receptors, spatial learning may require LTP.

Liang et al reported in 1994 that physical ability requires both NMDA and AMPA receptors, consolidation requires NMDA receptors [2].

Comparison to conventional mazesEdit

The Morris water maze has advantages over conventional mazes such as the plus maze. For instance, there are no local cues such as scent traces and there is no fixed escape-fomula; the rat makes good progress in the trials because it wants to escape. Rats can be considered to be natural swimmers – they are not distressed but they do want to find the platform. Mice have an option to float, perhaps leading to their uncooperativness in the water maze. It has been suggested that mice may not actually aim to find the platform, but fool the technician into rescuing them.

Water maze analysisEdit

The earliest and classic measure of learning is latency, which is the time it takes to find the platform. However, rats can cheat. They might guess an area and swim a search pattern, getting to the platform quite quickly. There are several analyses that can tease out true spatial learning, many of which use the same swim but require a video tracker. Professional systems come with a suite of analysis features to extract measures such as time and path in quadrants, near platform, in any specified area. The Gallagher measure looks for average distance to platform. The Whishaw corridor test measures time and path in a strip from swim-start to platform.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

BooksEdit

  • Schenk, F. (1998). The Morris water maze (is not a maze). Hove, England: Psychology Press/Erlbaum (UK) Taylor & Francis.

PapersEdit

  • Akbari, E., Naghdi, N., & Motamedi, F. (2006). Functional inactivation of orexin 1 receptors in CA1 region impairs acquisition, consolidation and retrieval in Morris water maze task: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 173(1) Oct 2006, 47-52.
  • Astur, R. S., Tropp, J., Sava, S., Constable, R. T., & Markus, E. J. (2004). Sex differences and correlations in a virtual Morris water task, a virtual radial arm maze, and mental rotation: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 151(1-2) May 2004, 103-115.
  • Baldi, E., Lorenzini, C. A., & Bucherelli, C. (2003). Task solving by procedural strategies in the Morris water maze: Physiology & Behavior Vol 78(4-5) Apr 2003, 785-793.
  • Beiko, J., Lander, R., Hampson, E., Boon, F., & Cain, D. P. (2004). Contribution of sex differences in the acute stress response to sex differences in water maze performance in the rat: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 151(1-2) May 2004, 239-253.
  • Bendig, A. W. (1952). Latent learning in a water maze: Journal of Experimental Psychology Vol 43(2) Feb 1952, 134-137.
  • Brown, R. W., & Kraemer, P. J. (1997). Ontogenetic differences in retention of spatial learning tested with the Morris water maze: Developmental Psychobiology Vol 30(4) May 1997, 329-341
  • Burkitt, J., Widman, D., & Saucier, D. M. (2007). Evidence for the influence of testosterone in the performance of spatial navigation in a virtual water maze in women but not in men: Hormones and Behavior Vol 51(5) May 2007, 649-654.
  • Cain, D. P., Finlayson, C., Boon, F., & Beiko, J. (2002). Ethanol impairs behavioral strategy use in naive rats but does not prevent spatial learning in the water maze in pretrained rats: Psychopharmacology Vol 164(1) Oct 2002, 1-9.
  • Cain, D. P., Humpartzoomian, R., & Boon, F. (2006). Retrosplenial cortex lesions impair water maze strategies learning or spatial place learning depending on prior experience of the rat: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 170(2) May 2006, 316-325.
  • Cassel, J.-C., Lazaris, A., Birthelmer, A., & Jackisch, R. (2007). Spatial reference- (not working- or procedural-) memory performance of aged rats in the water maze predicts the magnitude of sulpiride-induced facilitation of acetylcholine release by striatal slices: Neurobiology of Aging Vol 28(8) Aug 2007, 1270-1285.
  • Cimadevilla, J. M., Miranda, R., Lopez, L., & Arias, J. L. (2008). Bilateral and unilateral hippocampal inactivation did not differ in their effect on consolidation processes in the Morris water maze: International Journal of Neuroscience Vol 118(5) May 2008, 619-626.
  • Collinson, N., Atack, J. R., Laughton, P., Dawson, G. R., & Stephens, D. N. (2006). An inverse agonist selective for alpha 5 subunit-containing GABA-sub(A) receptors improves encoding and recall but not consolidation in the Morris water maze: Psychopharmacology Vol 188(4) Nov 2006, 619-628.
  • Dahlqvist, P., Ronnback, A., Bergstrom, S.-A., Soderstrom, I., & Olsson, T. (2004). Environmental enrichment reverses learning impairment in the Morris water maze after focal cerebral ischemia in rats: European Journal of Neuroscience Vol 19(8) Apr 2004, 2288-2298.
  • Davis S, Butcher SP, Morris RG. "The NMDA receptor antagonist D-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoate (D-AP5) impairs spatial learning and LTP in vivo at intracerebral concentrations comparable to those that block LTP in vitro." J Neurosci. 1992 Jan;12(1):21-34. PMID 1345945
  • Devan, B. D., Blank, G. S., & Petri, H. L. (1992). Place navigation in the Morris water task: Effects of reduced platform interval lighting and pseudorandom platform positioning: Psychobiology Vol 20(2) Jun 1992, 120-126.
  • D'Hooge, R., & De Deyn, P. P. (2001). Applications of the Morris water maze in the study of learning and memory: Brain Research Reviews Vol 36(1) Aug 2001, 60-90.
  • Dodwell, P. C. (1964). Further evidence on learning without performance in a water maze: Psychonomic Science Vol 1(1) 1964, 23-24.
  • Dodwell, P. C., & Bessant, D. E. (1960). Learning without swimming in a water maze: Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology Vol 53(5) Oct 1960, 422-425.
  • Enthoven, L., Dalm, S., de Kloet, E. R., & Oitzl, M. S. (2004). Swim posture of mice does not affect performance in the water maze: Brain Research Vol 1003(1-2) Apr 2004, 36-41.
  • Ferretti, V., Sargolini, F., Oliverio, A., Mele, A., & Roullet, P. (2007). Effects of intra-accumbens NMDA and AMPA receptor antagonists on short-term spatial learning in the Morris water maze task: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 179(1) Apr 2007, 43-49.
  • Frisch, C., Dere, E., De Souza Silva, M. A., Godecke, A., Schrader, J., & Huston, J. P. (2000). Superior water maze performance and increase in fear-related behavior in the endothelial nitric oxide synthase-deficient mouse together with monoamine changes in cerebellum and ventral striatum: Journal of Neuroscience Vol 20(17) Sep 2000, 6694-6700.
  • Hamilton, D. A., Akers, K. G., Weisend, M. P., & Sutherland, R. J. (2007). How do room and apparatus cues control navigation in the Morris water task? Evidence for distinct contributions to a movement vector: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes Vol 33(2) Apr 2007, 100-114.
  • Hepner, I. J., Homewood, J., & Taylor, A. J. (2002). Methadone disrupts performance on the working memory version of the Morris water task: Physiology & Behavior Vol 76(1) May 2002, 41-49.
  • Hodges, H. (1996). Maze procedures: The radial-arm and water maze compared: Cognitive Brain Research Vol 3(3-4) Jun 1996, 167-181.
  • Iivonen, H., Nurminen, L., Harri, M., Tanila, H., & Puolivali, J. (2003). Hypothermia in mice tested in Morris water maze: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 141(2) May 2003, 207-213.
  • Jiang, M.-L., Han, T.-Z., Pang, W., & Li, L. (2004). Gender- and age-specific impairment of rat performance in the Morris water maze following prenatal exposure to an MRI magnetic field: Brain Research Vol 995(1) Jan 2004, 140-144.
  • Kallai, J., Makany, T., Karadi, K., & Jacobs, W. J. (2005). Spatial orientation strategies in Morris-type virtual water task for humans: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 159(2) Apr 2005, 187-196.
  • Kealy, J., Diviney, M., Kehoe, E., McGonagle, V., O'Shea, A., Harvey, D., et al. (2008). The effects of overtraining in the Morris water maze on allocentric and egocentric learning strategies in rats: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 192(2) Oct 2008, 259-263.
  • Kempermann, G., & Gage, F. H. (2002). Genetic determinants of adult hippocampal neurogenesis correlate with acquisition, but not probe trial performance, in the water maze task: European Journal of Neuroscience Vol 16(1) Jul 2002, 129-136.
  • Korz, V. (2006). Water maze swim path analysis based on tracking coordinates: Behavior Research Methods Vol 38(3) Aug 2006, 522-528.
  • Kraemer, P. J., Brown, R. W., Baldwin, S. A., & Scheff, S. W. (1996). Validation of a single-day Morris water maze procedure used to assess cognitive deficits associated with brain damage: Brain Research Bulletin Vol 39(1) 1996, 17-22.
  • Liang KC, Hon W, Tyan YM, Liao WL. "Involvement of hippocampal NMDA and AMPA receptors in acquisition, formation and retrieval of spatial memory in the Morris water maze." Chin J Physiol. 1994;37(4):201-12. PMID 7796636
  • Lindner, M. D., Balch, A. H., & VanderMaelen, C. P. (1992). Short forms of the "reference-" and "working-memory" Morris water maze for assessing age-related deficits: Behavioral & Neural Biology Vol 58(2) Sep 1992, 94-102.
  • Lubbers, M. E., van den Bos, R., & Spruijt, B. M. (2007). Mu opioid receptor knockout mice in the Morris Water Maze: A learning or motivation deficit? : Behavioural Brain Research Vol 180(1) Jun 2007, 107-111.
  • Lukoyanov, N. V., Lukoyanova, E. A., Andrade, J. P., & Paula-Barbosa, M. M. (2005). Impaired water maze navigation of Wistar rats with retrosplenial cortex lesions: Effect of nonspatial pretraining: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 158(1) Mar 2005, 175-182.
  • Martin, G. M., Walker, K. M., & Skinner, D. M. (2003). A single unstable visual cue impairs spatial learning in a water maze: Learning and Motivation Vol 34(1) Feb 2003, 87-103.
  • Matthews, D. B., Morrow, A. L., Tokunaga, S., & McDaniel, J. R. (2002). Acute ethanol administration and acute allopregnanolone administration impair spatial memory in the Morris water task: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Vol 26(11) Nov 2002, 1747-1751.
  • McFadden, L. M., & Matuszewich, L. (2007). The effects of methamphetamine exposure during preadolescence on male and female rats in the water maze: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 185(2) Dec 2007, 99-109.
  • McGauran, A.-M. T., O'Mara, S. M., & Commins, S. (2005). Vestibular influence on water maze retention: Transient whole body rotations improve the accuracy of the cue-based retention strategy: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 158(1) Mar 2005, 183-187.
  • McNamara, R. K., & Skelton, R. W. (1993). The neuropharmacological and neurochemical basis of place learning in the Morris water maze: Brain Research Reviews Vol 18(1) Jan-Apr 1993, 33-49.
  • Means, L. W., Holsten, R. D., Long, M., & High, K. M. (1996). Scopolamine- and morphine-induced deficits in water maze alternation: Failure to attenuate with glucose: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Vol 66(2) Sep 1996, 167-175.
  • Micheau, J., Riedel, G., Roloff, E. v. L., Inglis, J., & Morris, R. G. M. (2004). Reversible Hippocampal Inactivation Partially Dissociates How and Where to Search in the Water Maze: Behavioral Neuroscience Vol 118(5) Oct 2004, 1022-1032.
  • Morris R (1984). Developments of a water-maze procedure for studying spatial learning in the rat. J Neurosci Methods 11 (1): 47-60. PMID 6471907.
  • Muhlhan, G. J., & Stone, C. P. (1949). Effects of electroconvulsive shocks on rat behavior in a Dashiell-type of water maze: Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology Vol 42(1) Feb 1949, 17-26.
  • Paroczai, M., Kiss, B., & Karpati, E. (1998). Effect of RGH-2716 on learning and memory deficits of young and aged rats in water-labyrinth: Brain Research Bulletin Vol 45(5) 1998, 475-488.
  • Pietropaolo, S., Paterna, J.-C., Bueler, H., Feldon, J., & Yee, B. (2007). Bidirectional changes in water-maze learning following recombinant adenovirus-associated viral vector (rAAV)-mediated brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in the rat hippocampus: Behavioural Pharmacology Vol 18(5-6) Sep 2007, 533-547.
  • Robinson, L., Harbaran, D., & Riedel, G. (2004). Visual acuity in the water maze: Sensitivity to muscarinic receptor blockade in rats and mice: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 151(1-2) May 2004, 277-286.
  • Sakamoto, T., & Okaichi, H. (1998). Fimbria-fornix (FF) lesions in rats impair the use of spatial information in the water maze: Japanese Journal of Animal Psychology Vol 48(2) Dec 1998, 149-160.
  • Sava, S., & Markus, E. J. (2005). Intramaze cue utilization in the water maze: Effects of sex and estrous cycle in rats: Hormones and Behavior Vol 48(1) Jun 2005, 23-33.
  • Schulz, D., Huston, J. P., Buddenberg, T., & Topic, B. (2007). "Despair" induced by extinction trials in the water maze: Relationship with measures of anxiety in aged and adult rats: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Vol 87(3) Mar 2007, 309-323.
  • Shuman T., Wood S. C., & Anagnostaras S. G. (2009). Modafinil and Memory: Effects of Modafinil on Morris Water Maze Learning and Pavlovian Fear Conditioning. Behavioral Neuroscience, 123, 257-266. Full text
  • Spooner, R. I. W., Thomson, A., Hall, J., Morris, R. G. M., & Salter, S. H. (1994). The Atlantis platform: A new design and further developments of Buresova's on-demand platform for the water maze: Learning & Memory Vol 1(3) Sep-Oct 1994, 203-211.
  • Stouffer, E. M., Petri, H. L., & Devan, B. D. (2004). Effect of D-serine on a delayed match-to-place task for the water maze: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 152(2) 2004, 447-452.
  • Thompson, H. J., LeBold, D. G., Marklund, N., Morales, D. M., Hagner, A. P., & McIntosh, T. K. (2006). Cognitive evaluation of traumatically brain-injured rats using serial testing in the Morris water maze: Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience Vol 24(2) 2006, 109-114.
  • Thompson, H. J., LeBold, D. G., Marklund, N., Morales, D. M., Hagner, A. P., & McLntosh, T. K. (2006). Cognitive evaluation of traumatically brain-injured rats using serial testing in the Morris water maze: Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience Vol 24(2) 2006, 109-114.
  • Timberlake, W., Sinning, S. A., & Leffel, J. K. (2007). Beacon training in a water maze can facilitate and compete with subsequent room cue learning in rats: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes Vol 33(3) Jul 2007, 225-243.
  • Valentinuzzi, V. S., Diniz, G. P., Menna-Barreto, L., & Xavier, G. F. (2007). The experience in the water maze task can affect the circadian rhythm of locomotor activity: Biological Rhythm Research Vol 38(6) Dec 2007, 399-414.
  • Valentinuzzi, V. S., Menna-Barreto, L., & Xavier, G. F. (2004). Effect of Circadian Phase on Performance of Rats in the Morris Water Maze Task: Journal of Biological Rhythms Vol 19(4) Aug 2004, 312-324.
  • Vales, K., Bubenikova-Valesova, V., Klement, D., & Stuchlik, A. (2006). Analysis of sensitivity to MK-801 treatment in a novel active allothetic place avoidance task and in the working memory version of the Morris water maze reveals differences between Long-Evans and Wistar rats: Neuroscience Research Vol 55(4) Aug 2006, 383-388.
  • Van Dama, D., Lenders, G., & De Deyn, P. P. (2006). Effect of Morris water maze diameter on visual-spatial learning in different mouse strains: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Vol 85(2) Mar 2006, 164-172.
  • Vicens, P., Redolat, R., & Carrasco, M. d. C. (2003). Spatial learning and water maze: Methodology and utilities: Psicothema Vol 15(4) Nov 2003, 539-544.
  • von Euler, M., Bendel, O., Bueters, T., Sandin, J., & von Euler, G. (2006). Profound but transient deficits in learning and memory after global ischemia using a novel water maze test: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 166(2) Jan 2006, 204-210.
  • Wahlsten, D., Cooper, S. F., & Crabbe, J. C. (2005). Different rankings of inbred mouse strains on the Morris maze and a refined 4-arm water escape task: Behavioural Brain Research Vol 165(1) Nov 2005, 36-51.
  • Wenrick, J. E. (1936). A further study of partial suprarenalectomy upon the learning of the white rat in a water maze: Journal of Comparative Psychology Vol 22(3) Dec 1936, 421-427.
  • Wesierska, M., Macias-Gonzalez, R., & Buress, J. (1990). Differential effect of ketamine on the reference and working memory versions of the Morris water maze task: Behavioral Neuroscience Vol 104(1) Feb 1990, 74-83.
  • Yamada, N., Hattori, A., Hayashi, T., Nishikawa, T., Fukuda, H., & Fujino, T. (2004). Improvement of scopolamine-induced memory impairment by Z-ajoene in the water maze in mice: Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior Vol 78(4) Aug 2004, 787-791.
  • Young, G. S., Choleris, E., & Kirkland, J. B. (2006). Use of salient and non-salient visuospatial cues by rats in the Morris Water Maze: Physiology & Behavior Vol 87(4) Apr 2006, 794-799.

DissertationsEdit

  • Cohn, S. I. (2007). Performance deficits in a water maze: Effect of REM sleep deprivation or cold stress? Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Hanson, G. R. (2003). The sand maze: An appetitive alternative to the morris water maze. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.


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