Respiratory and sniffing behaviors throughout adulthood and aging in mice

Behav Brain Res. 2011 Sep 30;223(1):99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.04.016. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


Orienting responses are physiological and active behavioral reactions evoked by novel stimulus perception and are critical for survival. We explored whether odor orienting responses are impacted throughout both adulthood and normal and pathological aging in mice. Novel odor investigation (including duration and bout numbers) and its subsequent habituation as assayed in the odor habituation task were preserved in adult C57BL/6J mice up to 12 mo of age with <6% variability between age groups in investigation time. Separately, using whole-body plethysmography we found that both spontaneous respiration and odor-evoked sniffing behaviors were strikingly preserved in wildtype (WT) mice up to 26 mo of age. In contrast, mice accumulating amyloid-β protein in the brain by means of overexpressing mutations in the human amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) showed preserved spontaneous respiration up to 12 mo, but starting at 14 mo showed significant differences from WT. Similar to WTs, odor-evoked sniffing was not impacted in APP mice up to 26 mo. These results show that odor-orienting responses are minimally impacted throughout aging in mice, and suggest that the olfactomotor network is mostly spared of insults due to aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / genetics
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Odorants
  • Plethysmography / methods
  • Respiration / genetics*
  • Space Perception / physiology


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor