Utilizing the modified T-maze to assess functional memory outcomes after cardiac arrest

Celeste Y.C. Wu, Francesca M. Lerner, Alexandre Couto e Silva, Harlee E. Possoit, Tsung Han Hsieh, Jake T. Neumann, Alireza Minagar, Hung Wen Lin, Reggie H.C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Evaluating mild to moderate cognitive impairment in a global cerebral ischemia (i.e. cardiac arrest) model can be difficult due to poor locomotion after surgery. For example, rats who undergo surgical procedures and are subjected to the Morris water maze may not be able to swim, thus voiding the experiment. New Method: We established a modified behavioral spontaneous alternation T-maze test. The major advantage of the modified T-maze protocol is its relatively simple design that is powerful enough to assess functional learning/memory after ischemia. Additionally, the data analysis is simple and straightforward. We used the T-maze to determine the rats' learning/memory deficits both in the presence or absence of mild to moderate (6 min) asphyxial cardiac arrest (ACA). Rats have a natural tendency for exploration and will explore the alternate arms in the T-maze, whereas hippocampal-lesioned rats tend to adopt a side-preference resulting in decreased spontaneous alternation ratios, revealing the hippocampal-related functional learning/memory in the presence or absence of ACA. Results: ACA groups have higher side-preference ratios and lower alternations as compared to control. Comparison with Existing Method(s): The Morris water and Barnes maze are more prominent for assessing learning/memory function. However, the Morris water maze is more stressful than other mazes. The Barnes maze is widely used to measure reference (long-term) memory, while ACA-induced neurocognitive deficits are more closely related to working (short-term) memory. Conclusions: We have developed a simple, yet effective strategy to delineate working (short-term) memory via the T-maze in our global cerebral ischemia model (ACA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56694
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number131
StatePublished - Jan 5 2018


  • 3D printing
  • Asphyxial cardiac arrest
  • Behavior
  • Global cerebral ischemia
  • Hippocampus
  • Issue 131
  • Spatial learning/memory
  • Spontaneous alternation
  • T-maze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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