Strain specificity and cholinergic modulation of visuospatial attention in three inbred mouse strains

T. Pattij*, M. C.W. Janssen, M. Loos, A. B. Smit, A. N.M. Schoffelmeer, M. M. Van Gaalen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The tremendous increase in the use of mouse inbred strains and mutant mice to study the molecular basis of psychiatric disorders urges for a better understanding of attentional performance in mice. To this aim, we investigated possible strain differences in performance and cholinergic modulation of visuospatial attention in three widely used mouse inbred strains (129S2/SvHsd, C57BL/6JOlaHsd and DBA/2OlaHsd) in the five-choice serial reaction time task. Results indicated that after extended training, performance of 129S2/SvHsd mice was superior to that of C57BL/6JOlaHsd and DBA/2OlaHsd mice in terms of attention, omission errors, inhibitory control and latencies to correct choice. Increasing the attentional load resulted in comparable decrements in attention in all strains and inhibitory control impairments that were most pronounced in DBA/2OlaHsd mice. Further pharmacological evaluation indicated that all strains showed attentional impairments after treatment with the muscarinic and nicotinic antagonists scopolamine and mecamylamine, respectively. 129S2/SvHsd mice were less sensitive, whereas DBA/2OlaHsd mice appeared more sensitive to the detrimental effects of mecamylamine. In addition, subchronic, but not acute, nicotine treatment slightly improved attentional performance in all strains to the same extent. In conclusion, our data indicate strain specificity with particularly good performance of 129S2/SvHsd mice and strong cholinergic involvement in visuospatial attention in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-587
Number of pages9
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

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