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Effects of Early Training and Nicotine Treatment on the Performance of Male NMRI Mice in the Water Maze

This research aimed to evaluate the effect of nicotine treatment and prior training on a spatial learning task in differently aged NMRI male mice. In a longitudinal study, mice were randomly assigned to one of 14 experimental groups receiving different combinations of chronically injected nicotine (0.35 mg/kg) administered for 10 days (5 days before and during 5 days acquisition of task) or control treatments and training in the water maze at different ages. The mice displayed shorter escape latencies when evaluated at 6 and 10 months than when tested in this task at 2 months for the first time, demonstrating that early training preserves performance in the water maze up to 8 months after the initial experience. Nicotine treatment did not significantly change performance in the water maze at any age tested. Early practice in a spatial reference memory task appears to have lasting consequences and can potentially contribute to preventing some age-related spatial learning deficits.