Different attentional abilities among inbred mice strains using virtual object recognition task (VORT): SNAP25+/- mice as a model of attentional deficit

Daniela Braida, Luisa Ponzoni, Michela Matteoli, Mariaelvina Sala M.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are characterized by attentional deficits. In the present study we first applied the virtual object recognition test (VORT), where 3D objects were replaced with highly discriminated geometrical shapes and presented on two 3.5-inch widescreen displays, in different inbred mice strains (C57BL/6N, DBA/2J, BALB/cJ), in comparison with the standard object recognition test (NOR). In both NOR and VORT, there was a progressive decay of performance in terms of reduced discrimination index from 5 min to 72 h of inter-trial delay in all strains. However, BALB/cJ inbred mice showed a better long lasting performance than C57BL/6N and DBA/2J, when tested in NOR. In VORT, BALB/cJ showed the best performance. Total exploration time was always higher in BALB/cJ than C57BL/6N and DBA/2J mice. C57BL/6N were less explorative strain than DBA/2J and BALB/cJ mice. When VORT was applied to SNAP-25+/- mice, an impairment in both NOR and VORT was shown. However, when moving shapes were applied, these heterozygous mice improved their performance, suggesting that the introduction of motion is a strong cue that makes the task more valuable to study attention deficits. Taken together, these data indicate that VORT provides a useful and rapid tool to identify the attentional deficit in different inbred strains and genetically modified mice, enhancing the value of psychiatric mouse models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-400
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Inbred mice
  • Novel object recognition
  • Shapes movement
  • SNAP-25
  • Visual attention
  • Visual object recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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