Behavioral performance of tfm mice supports the beneficial role of androgen receptors in spatial learning and memory

Angela Rizk, Jennifer Robertson, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


In adulthood, androgens and androgen receptors might contribute to the sexually dimorphic performance in spatial learning and memory, but their roles seem complex. To study the potential role of androgen receptors in spatial learning and memory, we tested adult 6-8-month-old mutant mice with a naturally occurring defect in the androgen receptor gene (testicular feminization mutant or tfm) and C57Bl/6J wild-type mice. Because the trait is X-linked, only tfm males are completely androgen insensitive while female tfm mice are heterozygous, carrying one wild-type and one tfm copy of the androgen receptor. Here we show that female tfm carrier mice outperform tfm male mice in the water maze, while there are no gender differences in water maze performance in wild-type mice. In tfm mice, there were no gender differences in measures of anxiety in the open field or plus maze or sensorimotor function, indicating that potential differences in these measures did not contribute to the differences observed in the water maze. There were no differences in tfm and wild-type female and male mice in emotional learning and memory in the passive avoidance test. These findings support a beneficial role for androgen receptors in spatial learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 9 2005



  • Androgen receptor
  • Gender
  • Mice
  • Spatial learning and memory
  • Water maze
  • tfm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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