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Physiol Behav. 2015 Apr 1;142:131-6. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.02.015. Epub 2015 Feb 7.

Enduring effects of post-weaning rearing condition on depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors and motor activity in male rats.

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Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Neuroscience Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Neuroscience Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran. Electronic address:


Environmental manipulation at early critical periods could have long-lasting effects. In spite of the great interest in the biological effects of the environmental condition so far, its long-lasting effects are less documented. This study looks at the enduring effects of rearing condition on tasks that measure affective responses and exploratory behavior in male Wistar rats. The animals were reared from weaning to adulthood in an enriched environment, standard laboratory condition, or isolated condition. Then, all rats were housed in standard laboratory cages to provide a common environment, and successively exposed to different tests between 0 and 11 weeks post-manipulation. The open field test indicated a more efficient exploratory behavior in the enriched group, and an enhanced spontaneous motor activity in both standard and isolated groups. In addition, rats reared in standard condition showed heightened motor activity in forced swimming test and elevated plus maze. Forced swimming test showed an antidepressive-like effect in the enriched environment group by increased climbing behavior. In respect to the anxiety behavior, environmental enrichment improved threat detection ability. It is concluded that rearing condition from weaning to adulthood has important and long-lasting effects on depressive- and anxiety-like and exploratory behaviors as well as motor activity.


Anxiety; Critical period; Depression; Environmental enrichment; Motor activity

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