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Physiol Behav. 1986;38(5):725-30.

Behavioral effects of severe and moderate early malnutrition.


Rats with a history of prenatal and early postnatal undernutrition (6 or 8% casein diets) were "nutritionally rehabilitated" at weaning, and were compared to well-fed animals (25% casein) at maturity. The severely-malnourished (6%) animals were hyperactive in the open field and when tested in a stabilimeter. They also appeared to be highly active during the early trials in 8-arm radial maze testing where they made more arm entries and re-entry errors than the well-fed rats. In terms of trials to criterion, however, their scores on the radial maze and on a spatial alternation task fell within normal limits. The moderately-malnourished (8%) rats tended to perform at control levels on the learning measures, but these rats were not as active as the 6% rats on the measures of activity. Brain size and weight differences among the three groups of rats also are presented and discussed.

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