Mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are often tested for learning and memory deficits using visuo-spatial tasks such as the Morris water maze. Performance on these tasks is dependent on vision and the APPswe/PS1dE9 mouse model has amyloid beta plaques in their retinas which might influence their performance in these tasks. In a visual learning task, old (20-26 months) transgenic mice and their wildtype littermates of both sexes had poorer visual ability than young (5-8 months) mice and old transgenic mice had poorer visual acuity than old wildtype mice. Old transgenic mice also had deficits in visuo-spatial learning and memory on the Morris water maze. The transgenic mice had no deficits in the conditioned odour preference or conditioned taste aversion memory tests at any age. These results indicate that the old APPswe/PS1dE9 mice and their wildtype littermates both have a deficit in their visual ability and that visually dependent measures alone should not be used to assess learning and memory in this strain.
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