The double-H maze test, a novel, simple, water-escape memory task: acquisition, recall of recent and remote memory, and effects of systemic muscarinic or NMDA receptor blockade during training.Behav Brain Res. 2011 Mar 17; 218(1):138-51.BB
To explore spatial cognition in rodents, research uses maze tasks, which differ in complexity, number of goals and pathways, behavioural flexibility, memory duration, but also in the experimenter's control over the strategy developed to reach a goal (e.g., allocentric vs. egocentric). This study aimed at validating a novel spatial memory test: the double-H maze test. The transparent device made of an alley with two opposite arms at each extremity and two in its centre is flooded. An escape platform is submerged in one arm. For experiments 1-3, rats were released in unpredictable sequences from one of both central arms to favour an allocentric approach of the task. Experiment 1 (3 trials/day over 6 days) demonstrated classical learning curves and evidence for recent and nondegraded remote memory performance. Experiment 2 (2 days, 3 trials/day) showed a dose-dependent alteration of task acquisition/consolidation by muscarinic or NMDA receptor blockade; these drug effects vanished with sustained training (experiment 3; 4 days, 3 trials/day). Experiment 4 oriented rats towards a procedural (egocentric) approach of the task. Memory was tested in a misleading probe trial. Most rats immediately switched from response learning-based to place learning-based behaviour, but only when their initial view on environmental cues markedly differed between training and probe trials. Because this simple task enables the formation of a relatively stable memory trace, it could be particularly adapted to study consolidation processes at a system level or/and the interplay between procedural and declarative-like memory systems.