The Y Maze test is a behavioral test for measuring the willingness of rodents to explore (new) environments. Rodents prefer to investigate new environments and will therefor more often enter a new arm of the maze rather than returning to one that was previously visited. Many parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, septum, basal forebrain, and prefrontal cortex, are involved in this task.
Testing occurs in a Y-shaped maze with three white, opaque plastic arms at a 120° angle from each other. After introduction to the center of the maze, the rodent – often a mouse – is allowed to freely explore the three arms of the maze. Over the course of multiple arm entries, the rodent should show a tendency to enter a less recently visited arm. The number of arm entries and the number of triads are recorded in order to calculate the percentage of alternation. When an entry of an arm is counted can be set with the software. It can be just the nose, the body or the tail. This test is used to quantify cognitive deficits in transgenic strains of mice and evaluate novel chemical entities for their effects on cognition.
The Y maze plug-in promotes data acquisition and data evaluation in investigations with experimental animals on Y-shaped mazes. The Y Maze test is a common and quite easy to handle test of memory function in rodents. E.g. healthy mice, accustomed to this kind of environment, show typical behavior when exploring the maze. Hence aberrational behaving caused by experimental treatment can be scored with certainty. The Y Maze Plug-In measures the succession, the rate of stays, the resting time in the three arms of the shape and the covered distance and calculates the common SAP, AAR and SAR parameters on the fly.
The analysis shows (additionally to the standard analysis) a table with all Y Maze relevant parameters and a visualization of the experiment with the trajectory of the animal. In addition to the standard result file for each trial you can pool multiple trials in a separate result file where the average values for each parameter are calculated automatically.
Why is three-point-tracking important for the Y Maze? Because you can decide how you want to measure arm entries. You can define which point of the animal (nose, center, tail) is the reference point for an arm entry event.
Nose entry: Only the nose of the animal enters the zone.
Center entry: The center of mass of the animal enters the zone.
Full entry: The animal enters the zone completely.
Results and statistics tables can be exported as Excel and CSV file. You can work with any statistical software for further processing. Graphs can be modified in several ways and exported in common formats (*.bmp, *.wmf, *.emf, *.tee).
(SAP = Spontaneous Alternation Performance, AAR = Alternate Arm Returns, SAR = Same Arm Returns, LFAV = Latency First Arm Visit)
The statistics provide mean values, standard deviation and error for all parameters and experiments
Detailed information for each arm in the result table
(Y-Maze Plug-In issues group comparison as well. We show it exemplarily for all plug-ins on the page Multiple Experiment Analysis)
Bar charts visualize all parameter results