Using the MATRICS to guide development of a preclinical cognitive test battery for research in schizophrenia

Pharmacol Ther. 2009 May;122(2):150-202. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.02.004. Epub 2009 Mar 6.


Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are among the core symptoms of the disease, correlate with functional outcome, and are not well treated with current antipsychotic therapies. In order to bring together academic, industrial, and governmental bodies to address this great 'unmet therapeutic need', the NIMH sponsored the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) initiative. Through careful factor analysis and consensus of expert opinion, MATRICS identified seven domains of cognition that are deficient in schizophrenia (attention/vigilance, working memory, reasoning and problem solving, processing speed, visual learning and memory, verbal learning and memory, and social cognition) and recommended a specific neuropsychological test battery to probe these domains. In order to move the field forward and outline an approach for translational research, there is a need for a "preclinical MATRICS" to develop a rodent test battery that is appropriate for drug development. In this review, we outline such an approach and review current rodent tasks that target these seven domains of cognition. The rodent tasks are discussed in terms of their validity for probing each cognitive domain as well as a brief overview of the pharmacology and manipulations relevant to schizophrenia for each task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Problem Solving / physiology
  • Rats
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / therapy
  • United States
  • Verbal Learning / physiology