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Behav Genet. 1999 Jan;29(1):41-6.

Rearing environmental enrichment in two inbred strains of mice: 1. Effects on emotional reactivity.

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Université de Rouen, Faculté des Sciences, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie de l'Apprentissage, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France.


The effects of an enriched rearing environment on two types of anxiety-like behavior (designated "trait" and "state" anxiety) and on spontaneous activity were investigated in two inbred strains of mice, BALB/c (C) and C57BL/6(B6). Subjects were socially reared from birth to 56 days of age under enriched or standard rearing conditions. The enriched environment consisted of an assembly of plastic boxes in which a various number of objects (running wheels, pieces of plastic, etc.) offered the possibility of multiple activities. The subjects were subsequently tested in three situations: a spontaneous activity recorder, an elevated plus-maze test (a model of state anxiety), and a free exploration test (a model of trait anxiety). No group differences could be found in spontaneous activity. Environmental enrichment, however, decreased the level of both types of anxiety-like behavior in the C strain. In contrast, the level of trait anxiety of the B6 mice was not modified. The results were discussed in relation to possible CNS modifications, especially in the limbic system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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