Partially nephrectomized (NX) and sham-operated mice were biochemically and behaviourally compared, 10 days, 1 month and 1 year post-surgery. Plasma urea and creatinine concentrations were mildly increased in all NX groups, but creatinine clearance was significantly decreased, 10 days post-surgery only. NX mice showed lower body weights and reduced growth. Wire suspension and rotarod indicated unaffected motor functions, but NX mice did show reduced ambulation and swimming velocity, 10 days post-surgery. Hidden-platform water maze indicated a spatial learning impairment in NX mice, 10 days post-surgery, which could not be entirely reduced to motor incapacity. The acute behavioural deficits in these mildly uremic mice may relate to analogous symptoms in uraemic encephalopathy, a poorly understood brain syndrome occurring in uraemic patients.