C57B1/6 mice aged 3, 10, and 26 months were tested for spatial learning in the Morris water maze. Ten and 26 month old mice were ad libitum-fed or diet restricted (60% of ad libitum-fed calories). Diet restriction significantly improved memory performance among the 10 and 26 month olds. In age/diet group comparisons, aged ad libitum-fed mice had significantly higher average proximity scores, indicating poorer performance, in probe trials for place learning than the 3 month olds and diet restricted 10 month olds. Diet restricted 26 month olds did not differ significantly from 3 month olds or any other groups in probe trial measures. The group means for average proximity scores were significantly correlated with binding densities for the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptors in the frontal cortex and CA1 region of the hippocampus. Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionate (AMPA) binding correlated with group proximity scores in frontal and parietal cortices and within the CA1 and CA3 regions of the hippocampus. Kainate and metabotropic binding sites showed no significant correlations with behavior. These results suggest that there is a sparing of spatial memory with diet restriction in aging C57B1/6 mice and that the effects of aging on NMDA and AMPA receptors may be associated with age-related declines in spatial learning.