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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2018, Article ID 8728415, 7 pages
Research Article

Age- and Gender-Based Differences in Nest-Building Behavior and Learning and Memory Performance Measured Using a Radial Six-Armed Water Maze in C57BL/6 Mice

1Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, 230022 Anhui, China
2Lu’an Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, People’s Hospital of Lu’an City, Lu’an, 237005 Anhui, China
3Hefei National Level High and New Technology Development Zone, Hefei, 230088 Anhui, China
4Department of Neurology, The Affiliated Chaohu Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Chaohu, 238000 Anhui, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Gui-Hai Chen; moc.361@hgcrotcod

Received 9 November 2017; Accepted 18 February 2018; Published 9 May 2018

Academic Editor: Antonio Orlacchio

Copyright © 2018 Xiang-Dong Xiong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Understanding age-based and gender-based behavioral changes is becoming more important as a greater percentage of people lives longer worldwide. In this study, a C57BL/6 mouse animal model was used to study age-based and gender-based behavioral differences using nest building and radial six-armed water maze (RAWM) testing. Methods. In C57BL/6 mice, nest-building behavior was recorded as nesting scores, while spatial learning and memory behaviors were assessed using RAWM platform search errors and latencies. Results. In the nest-building test, nest building significantly declined in nineteen 25-month-old mice compared to that of twenty-three 7-month-old mice. Meanwhile, nest building in 25-month-old mice was lower for eight male mice than for eleven female mice, while no significant gender differences were observed in nest building of 7-month-old mice. RAWM performance also declined in aged versus nonaged adult mice, while no significant gender differences were observed in average RAWM performance regardless of age. Conclusions. In adult C57BL/6 mice, nest building is a sensitive indicator for detecting both age- and gender-based behavioral declines, while RAWM performance, an assessment of spatial learning and memory behaviors, is not sensitive to gender but significantly declines with aging. Therefore, for a C57BL/6 mouse model of aging, both nest building and RAWM should be useful to further study mechanisms involved in behavioral decline with aging.