Circadian activity associated with spatial learning and memory in aging rhesus monkeys

G. E. Haley, N. Landauer, L. Renner, A. Weiss, K. Hooper, H. F. Urbanski, S. G. Kohama, M. Neuringer, J. Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In rodents, spatial learning and memory tests require navigation, whereas in nonhuman primates these tests generally do not involve a navigational component, thus assessing nonhomologous neural systems. To allow closer parallels between rodent and primate studies, we developed a navigational spatial learning and memory task for nonhuman primates and assessed the performance of elderly (19-25 years) female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). The animals were allowed to navigate in a room containing a series of food ports. After they learned to retrieve food from the ports, a single port was repeatedly baited and the animals were tested until they learned the correct location. The location of the baited port was then changed (shift position). We also determined whether test performance was associated with circadian activity measured with accelerometers. Performance measures included trials to criterion, search strategies, and several indices of circadian activity. Animals learned the task as reflected in their search strategies. Correlations were found between the number of initial or shift trials and circadian activity parameters including day activity, dark:light activity ratio, sleep latency, and wake bouts. Thus, disruptions in circadian rhythms in nonhuman primates are associated with poorer performance on this novel test. These data support the usefulness of this spatial navigational test to assess spatial learning and memory in rhesus monkeys and the importance of circadian activity in performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Circadian activity
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Spatial learning and memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Circadian activity associated with spatial learning and memory in aging rhesus monkeys'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this