The beneficial effects of environmental enrichment (EE) applied immediately after weaning or even in adulthood have been widely demonstrated. Little is known about the possible changes in behaviour and brain development of the progeny following exposure of dams to EE. In order to further investigate this matter, female rats were reared in EE for 12 weeks, from weaning until a few days before delivery. To test the possibility that changes in offspring behaviour are mediated by changes in their dam’s behaviour, prior to mating, the female rats were tested in the Morris Water Maze (MWM) and in the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM). Maternal behaviour, during the first days of lactation was also observed. Male and female offspring at different ages were tested in play behaviour, learning, anxiety and social hierarchy. EE in the form of physical and social interaction influenced the behavioural profile of the mother. Specifically, EE exposure improved spatial learning ability and didn’t modify anxiety-like behaviour. Moreover, EE mothers showed a decreased frequency of total nursing and a slight increase of licking behavior. As for the effects on the offspring, maternal exposure to EE affected their behaviour in a sex specific manner: increased social play behavior and anxiety-like behavior in males but not in females; improved learning ability only in females; no effect on social hierarchy on both sexes. Interestingly, maternal EE seemed to have a great influence on motility in male and female offspring since we observed increased locomotor activity in the EPM and swimming speed in the MWM. Overall, this study highlights the importance of environmental stimulation not only in the animals for whom EE was provided but also to their future progeny. This study was supported by the Fondazione Ethoikos

Maternal exposure to environmental enrichment before and during gestation influences behaviour of rat offspring in a sex specific manner / Zinni, Manuela; Zuena, Anna Rita; Giuli, Chiara; Cinque, Carlo; Alema', Giovanni Sebastiano; Giuliani, Alessandro; Catalani, Assia; Casolini, Paola; Cozzolino, Roberto. - (2015). ((Intervento presentato al convegno EBPS Biennal Meeting Joint EBPS-EBBS Meeting September, 12-15 2015 - tenutosi a Verona, Italy nel September, 12-15 2015.

Maternal exposure to environmental enrichment before and during gestation influences behaviour of rat offspring in a sex specific manner

ZINNI, MANUELA;ZUENA, Anna Rita;GIULI, CHIARA;CINQUE, CARLO;ALEMA', Giovanni Sebastiano;GIULIANI, ALESSANDRO;CATALANI, Assia;CASOLINI, Paola;
2015

Abstract

The beneficial effects of environmental enrichment (EE) applied immediately after weaning or even in adulthood have been widely demonstrated. Little is known about the possible changes in behaviour and brain development of the progeny following exposure of dams to EE. In order to further investigate this matter, female rats were reared in EE for 12 weeks, from weaning until a few days before delivery. To test the possibility that changes in offspring behaviour are mediated by changes in their dam’s behaviour, prior to mating, the female rats were tested in the Morris Water Maze (MWM) and in the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM). Maternal behaviour, during the first days of lactation was also observed. Male and female offspring at different ages were tested in play behaviour, learning, anxiety and social hierarchy. EE in the form of physical and social interaction influenced the behavioural profile of the mother. Specifically, EE exposure improved spatial learning ability and didn’t modify anxiety-like behaviour. Moreover, EE mothers showed a decreased frequency of total nursing and a slight increase of licking behavior. As for the effects on the offspring, maternal exposure to EE affected their behaviour in a sex specific manner: increased social play behavior and anxiety-like behavior in males but not in females; improved learning ability only in females; no effect on social hierarchy on both sexes. Interestingly, maternal EE seemed to have a great influence on motility in male and female offspring since we observed increased locomotor activity in the EPM and swimming speed in the MWM. Overall, this study highlights the importance of environmental stimulation not only in the animals for whom EE was provided but also to their future progeny. This study was supported by the Fondazione Ethoikos
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/853230
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