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Physiol Behav. 2008 Jan 28;93(1-2):388-94. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

Duration of environmental enrichment influences the magnitude and persistence of its behavioral effects on mice.

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Depatmento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Ciências Básicas da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.


A wide range of data in the literature suggests that environmental enrichment has beneficial effects on various cognitive parameters in rodents. However, the magnitude of these effects and their persistence after the cessation of enrichment vary markedly across studies, with the use of different enrichment protocols probably playing a significant role in this variation. Using an open field habituation task as a paradigm, we investigate whether the duration and starting age of environmental enrichment affect the magnitude and persistence of its behavioral effects on male CF-1 albino mice. Our data shows that, at least in our protocol, (a) environmental enrichment, both after weaning and in early adulthood, decreases locomotion in an open field task, probably by increasing habituation; (b) a minimum enrichment period is necessary to induce this behavioral effect; (c) the effect of enrichment can persist at least partially for many months after its cessation; and (d) the degree of this persistence appears to be somewhat greater in animals exposed to longer durations of enrichment.

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