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The free-movement pattern Y-maze: a cross-species measure of working memory and executive function

The free-movement pattern Y-maze: a cross-species measure of working memory and executive function
The free-movement pattern Y-maze: a cross-species measure of working memory and executive function
Numerous neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders are associated with deficits in executive functions, such as working memory and cognitive flexibility. Progress in developing effective treatments for disorders may benefit from targeting these cognitive impairments, the success of which is predicated on the development of animal models with validated behavioural assays. Zebrafish offer a promising model for studying complex brain disorders, but tasks assessing executive function are lacking. The Free movement pattern (FMP) Ymaze combines aspects of the common Y-maze assay, which exploits the inherent motivation of an organism to explore an unknown environment, with analysis based on a series of sequential two-choice discriminations. We validate the task as a measure of working memory and executive function by comparing task performance parameters in adult zebrafish treated with a range of glutamatergic, cholinergic and dopaminergic drugs known to impair working memory and cognitive flexibility. We demonstrate the cross-species validity of the task by assessing performance parameters in adapted versions of the task for mice and Drosophila, and finally a virtual version in humans, and identify remarkable commonalities between vertebrate species’ navigation of the maze. Together, our results demonstrate that the FMP Y-maze is a sensitive assay for assessing working memory and cognitive flexibility across species from invertebrates to humans, providing a simple and widely applicable behavioural assay with exceptional translational relevance.
FMP Y-maze; zebrafish; Drosophila; working memory; executive function; translational research
1554-351X
Cleal, Madeleine
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Fontana, Barbara
9374a5d5-c6f0-4cd1-9a8c-34174c6afcd2
Ranson, Daniel
35777091-2900-45f3-96dd-39580a800585
McBride, Sebastian
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Swinny, Jerome
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Redhead, Edward
d2342759-2c77-45ef-ac0f-9f70aa5db0df
Parker, Matthew
a3dd2011-809c-41d2-8669-445a20e3e48b
Cleal, Madeleine
aadd5f48-ddff-48b9-a6c4-d33b0435bb88
Fontana, Barbara
9374a5d5-c6f0-4cd1-9a8c-34174c6afcd2
Ranson, Daniel
35777091-2900-45f3-96dd-39580a800585
McBride, Sebastian
25a0d1c8-ebbd-4080-9107-62caffa00cc9
Swinny, Jerome
2cf1670a-3e12-4f0b-9fdf-d57473caa1c2
Redhead, Edward
d2342759-2c77-45ef-ac0f-9f70aa5db0df
Parker, Matthew
a3dd2011-809c-41d2-8669-445a20e3e48b

Cleal, Madeleine, Fontana, Barbara, Ranson, Daniel, McBride, Sebastian, Swinny, Jerome, Redhead, Edward and Parker, Matthew (2020) The free-movement pattern Y-maze: a cross-species measure of working memory and executive function. Behavior Research Methods. (doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01452-x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Numerous neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders are associated with deficits in executive functions, such as working memory and cognitive flexibility. Progress in developing effective treatments for disorders may benefit from targeting these cognitive impairments, the success of which is predicated on the development of animal models with validated behavioural assays. Zebrafish offer a promising model for studying complex brain disorders, but tasks assessing executive function are lacking. The Free movement pattern (FMP) Ymaze combines aspects of the common Y-maze assay, which exploits the inherent motivation of an organism to explore an unknown environment, with analysis based on a series of sequential two-choice discriminations. We validate the task as a measure of working memory and executive function by comparing task performance parameters in adult zebrafish treated with a range of glutamatergic, cholinergic and dopaminergic drugs known to impair working memory and cognitive flexibility. We demonstrate the cross-species validity of the task by assessing performance parameters in adapted versions of the task for mice and Drosophila, and finally a virtual version in humans, and identify remarkable commonalities between vertebrate species’ navigation of the maze. Together, our results demonstrate that the FMP Y-maze is a sensitive assay for assessing working memory and cognitive flexibility across species from invertebrates to humans, providing a simple and widely applicable behavioural assay with exceptional translational relevance.

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Cleal et al 2020_ BRM_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
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Cleal 2020 Article The Free movement Pattern Y-maze - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 July 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 August 2020
Additional Information: Funding Information: MC is funded by a University of Portsmouth Science Faculty PhD Studentship. BDF is funded by CAPES foundation, Brazil. DCR is funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction. MOP currently receives funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK, Foundation for Liver Research and The British Academy. We have no known conflict of interest to declare. Publisher Copyright: © 2020, The Author(s).
Keywords: FMP Y-maze; zebrafish; Drosophila; working memory; executive function; translational research

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 443054
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/443054
ISSN: 1554-351X
PURE UUID: 33973397-17f6-4a13-a3d4-7260115a15ac

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Date deposited: 07 Aug 2020 16:30
Last modified: 13 Oct 2022 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Madeleine Cleal
Author: Barbara Fontana
Author: Daniel Ranson
Author: Sebastian McBride
Author: Jerome Swinny
Author: Edward Redhead
Author: Matthew Parker

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