The importance of considering all attributes of memory in behavioral endophenotyping of mouse models of genetic disease

Michael R. Hunsaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


In order to overcome difficulties in evaluating cognitive function in mouse models of genetic disorders, it is critical to take into account the background strain of the mouse and reported phenotypes in the clinical population being studied. Recent studies have evaluated cognitive function across a number of background strains and found that spatial memory assayed by the water maze and contextual fear conditioning often does not provide optimal results. The logical extension to these results is to emphasize not only spatial, but all attributes or domains of memory function in behavioral phenotyping experiments. A careful evaluation of spatial, temporal, sensory/perceptual, affective, response, executive, proto-linguistic, and social behaviors designed to specifically evaluate the cognitive function each mouse model can be performed in a rapid, relatively high throughput manner. Such results would not only provide a more comprehensive snapshot of brain function in mouse disease models than the more common approach that approaches nonspecific spatial memory tasks to evaluate cognition, but also would better model the disorders being studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012



  • Attributes
  • Behavioral endophenotype
  • Behavioral genetics
  • Mouse model
  • Multiple memory systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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