Color and contrast vision in mouse models of aging and Alzheimer's disease using a novel visual-stimuli four-arm maze

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 13;11(1):1255. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-80988-0.


We introduce a novel visual-stimuli four-arm maze (ViS4M) equipped with spectrally- and intensity-controlled LED emitters and dynamic grayscale objects that relies on innate exploratory behavior to assess color and contrast vision in mice. Its application to detect visual impairments during normal aging and over the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is evaluated in wild-type (WT) and transgenic APPSWE/PS1∆E9 murine models of AD (AD+) across an array of irradiance, chromaticity, and contrast conditions. Substantial color and contrast-mode alternation deficits appear in AD+ mice at an age when hippocampal-based memory and learning is still intact. Profiling of timespan, entries and transition patterns between the different arms uncovers variable AD-associated impairments in contrast sensitivity and color discrimination, reminiscent of tritanomalous defects documented in AD patients. Transition deficits are found in aged WT mice in the absence of alternation decline. Overall, ViS4M is a versatile, controlled device to measure color and contrast-related vision in aged and diseased mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Color Perception*
  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Maze Learning*
  • Memory*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic