Dahl (S × R) rat congenic strain analysis confirms and defines a chromosome 17 spatial navigation quantitative trait locus to <10 Mbp.
A quantitative trait locus (QTL) linked with ability to find a platform in the Morris Water Maze (MWM) was located on chromosome 17 (Nav-5 QTL) using intercross between Dahl S and Dahl R rats. We developed two congenic strains, S.R17A and S.R17B introgressing Dahl R-chromosome 17 segments into Dahl S chromosome 17 region spanning putative Nav-5 QTL. Performance analysis of S.R17A, S.R17B and Dahl S rats in the Morris water maze (MWM) task showed a significantly decreased spatial navigation performance in S.R17B congenic rats when compared with Dahl S controls (P = 0.02). The S.R17A congenic segment did not affect MWM performance delimiting Nav-5 to the chromosome 17 65.02-74.66 Mbp region. Additional fine mapping is necessary to identify the specific gene variant accounting for Nav-5 effect on spatial learning and memory in Dahl rats.