Cognitive evaluation using Morris water maze in neurotrauma

Ying Deng-Bryant, Lai Yee Leung, Krista Caudle, Frank Tortella, Deborah Shear

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Morris water maze (MWM) task is one of the most widely used and versatile tools in behavioral neuroscience for evaluating spatial learning and memory. With regard to detecting cognitive deficits following central nervous system (CNS) injuries, MWM has been commonly utilized in various animal models of neurotrauma, such as fluid percussion injury (FPI), cortical controlled impact (CCI) injury, weight-drop impact injury, and penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI). More importantly, it serves as a therapeutic index for assessing the efficacy of treatment interventions on cognitive performance following neurotrauma. Thus, it is critical to design an MWM testing paradigm that is sensitive yet discriminating for the purpose of evaluating potential therapeutic interventions. In this chapter, we discuss how multiple test manipulations, including the size of platform, numbers of trials per day, the frequency of retesting intervals, and the texture of platform surface, impact MWM’s ability to detect cognitive deficits using a rat model of PBBI.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Cognitive deficit
  • Cognitive function
  • Memory
  • Morris water maze
  • Neurotrauma
  • Spatial learning
  • Traumatic brain injury


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