The Ts65Dn mouse displays several phenotypic abnormalities that parallel characteristics found in Down syndrome. One important characteristic associated with Down syndrome is an increased incidence of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Since Alzheimer's disease is characterized largely by progressive memory loss, it is of interest to study working memory in the Ts65Dn mouse. Previous research in our lab using a titrating, delayed matching-to-position schedule of reinforcement has demonstrated that young, adult male Ts65Dn mice do not display a working memory deficit when compared to age-matched littermate controls. However, there have been no studies examining the working memory of these mice as they age. Due to the correlation between Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease, and as part of a larger effort to further characterize the phenotype of the Ts65Dn mouse, the purpose of this study was to determine whether aged Ts65Dn mice possess a working memory deficit when compared to age-matched littermate controls. In order to study working memory, two groups of mice were trained under a titrating, delayed matching-to-position schedule of reinforcement. The first group was trained beginning at 3 months of age, and the second group began training at 15 months of age. Both groups were studied to 24 months of age. Initially, both groups of Ts65Dn mice performed at a lower level of accuracy than the control mice; however, this difference disappeared with further practice. The results from these lifespan studies indicate that the aged Ts65Dn mouse does not possess a working memory deficit when compared to age-matched controls.
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