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Nutr Hosp. 2011 Jul-Aug;26(4):716-21. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112011000400008.

Behavioral analysis of Wistar rats fed with a flaxseed based diet added to an environmental enrichment.

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Department of Nutrition and Dietary, Fluminense Federal University, Brazil.


Flaxseed has a high content of n-3 fatty acids and its intake associated with an environmental enrichment may promote distinct behavioral results upon habituation and animal behavior. This work aimed to evaluating animal behavior under the use of these two tools in the Open Field Test. Thirty-six male Wistar rats were divided into 6 groups (n = 6): FEEG, receiving chow made up of flaxseed and kept in enriched environment; FSEG, receiving flaxseed based diet and kept in a standard environment; CEEG, receiving casein based diet and kept in enriched environment; CSEG, receiving casein based chow and kept in standard environment; MCEEG, receiving chow made up of casein but modified so as to provide the same content of fibers and lipids found in flaxseed diet and kept in enriched environment; MCSEG, receiving modified casein based diet and kept in standard environment. All animals were kept under controlled temperature, collective cages and dark/light cycle, receiving chow and water ad libitum, except for MCEEG and MCSEG, which were pair fed with FEEG and FSEG, respectively. Chow intake and animal body weight were evaluated twice in a week. Animals were maintained in these groups from the first until the second month of life, by the time when 3 day tests in Open Field Test began. Finishing the tests, animals were sacrificed and their brains were obtained in order to calculate the relative brain weight. Our results show an interplay between flaxseed and environmental enrichment in habituation to a new environment, making the animals more manageable and less stressed.

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