Intramaze cue utilization in the water maze: effects of sex and estrous cycle in rats.

Hormones and behavior

PubMedID: 15919382

Sava S, Markus EJ. Intramaze cue utilization in the water maze: effects of sex and estrous cycle in rats. Horm Behav. 2005;48(1):23-33.
Rats can use a wide spectrum of intra- and extramaze information while navigating through the environment. The current study examined the relative contribution of an intramaze cue with regard to its proximity to the goal. Three experiments were conducted and the impact of intramaze cue removal or rotation on water maze search was examined. In males, the effect of the intramaze cue declined monotonically in relation to the proximity of the cue to the goal. A more complex relationship between cue location and utilization was found in estrous and proestrus females. Estrous females showed a strong effect of the cue only when it was near the goal, ignoring it when it was situated further away. Conversely proestrus females were affected by the cue under all conditions. It is concluded that previous reports of behavioral differences may stem from the fact that proestrus females are affected by and attend to a wider range of stimuli, while estrous females are more affected by salient stimuli.