The Y-Maze Test is based on the natural behavior of rodents to explore new environments. Rodents typically prefer to investigate new environments rather than familiar ones, so animals will explore a new arm of a maze rather than returning to the one that was previously visited. Many parts of the brain including the hippocampus, septum, basal forebrain, and prefrontal cortex are involved in this task.
Spontaneous Alternation test
Testing occurs in a Y-shaped maze with three plastic arms oriented in a 120° angle. After placing the mouse in the center of the maze, the animal is allowed to freely explore the three arms, where it should show a tendency to enter a less recently visited arm. This test is used to quantify cognitive deficits in transgenic animals and evaluate novel compounds for their effects on cognition.
Y-Maze Novelty and Memory
To test whether rodents prefer to spend time in new or familiar areas, one arm of the Y-maze is blocked and the animal is allowed to explore the other two arms. The rodent is then placed in the start arm and the blocked arm is opened, so the animal should show a tendency to enter the formerly blocked arm more frequently. The Y-maze test is particularly useful as an initial test of memory function in mice.
Y-Maze, longitudinal evaluation of 9 month old 5xFAD transgenic and non-transgenic littermates. Longitudinal evaluation of the alternation rate (A) and number of arm entries of testing 1 and 2 in the Y-Maze (B) of 5xFAD and ntg mice; n = 8 per group, mixed gender. Mean ± SEM. Two-way ANOVA. **p<0.01.