The beneficial effects of Environmental Enrichment (EE) applied immediately after weaning or even in adulthood have been widely demonstrated. Less is known about the possible changes in behaviour and brain development of the progeny following the exposure of dams to EE. In order to further investigate this matter, female rats were reared in EE for 12 weeks, from weaning until delivery. After having confirmed the presence of relevant behavioural effects of EE, both control and EE females underwent mating. Maternal behaviour was observed and male and female offspring were then administered a battery of behavioural test at different ages. EE mothers showed a decreased frequency of total nursing and, during the first 2 days of lactation, an increase in licking/grooming behaviour. Maternal exposure to EE affected offspring behaviour in a sex-specific manner: social play behaviour and anxiety-like behaviour were increased in males but not in females and learning ability was improved only in females. As a general trend, maternal EE had a marked influence on motility in male and female offspring in both locomotor activity and swimming speed. Overall, this study highlights the importance of environmental stimulation, not only in the animals directly experiencing EE, but for their progeny too, opening the way to new hypothesis on the heritability mechanisms of behavioural traits.

Maternal exposure to environmental enrichment before and during gestation influences behaviour of rat offspring in a sex-specific manner / Zuena, Anna Rita; Zinni, Manuela; Giuli, Chiara; Cinque, Carlo; Alema', Giovanni Sebastiano; Alessandro, Giuliani; Catalani, Assia; Casolini, Paola; Roberto, Cozzolino. - In: PHYSIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR. - ISSN 0031-9384. - STAMPA. - 163:(2016), pp. 274-287. [10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.05.010]

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

ZUENA, Anna Rita;ZINNI, MANUELA;GIULI, CHIARA;CINQUE, CARLO;ALEMA', Giovanni Sebastiano;CATALANI, Assia;CASOLINI, Paola;
2016

Abstract

The beneficial effects of Environmental Enrichment (EE) applied immediately after weaning or even in adulthood have been widely demonstrated. Less is known about the possible changes in behaviour and brain development of the progeny following the exposure of dams to EE. In order to further investigate this matter, female rats were reared in EE for 12 weeks, from weaning until delivery. After having confirmed the presence of relevant behavioural effects of EE, both control and EE females underwent mating. Maternal behaviour was observed and male and female offspring were then administered a battery of behavioural test at different ages. EE mothers showed a decreased frequency of total nursing and, during the first 2 days of lactation, an increase in licking/grooming behaviour. Maternal exposure to EE affected offspring behaviour in a sex-specific manner: social play behaviour and anxiety-like behaviour were increased in males but not in females and learning ability was improved only in females. As a general trend, maternal EE had a marked influence on motility in male and female offspring in both locomotor activity and swimming speed. Overall, this study highlights the importance of environmental stimulation, not only in the animals directly experiencing EE, but for their progeny too, opening the way to new hypothesis on the heritability mechanisms of behavioural traits.
maternal behaviour; spatial learning; anxiety; play behaviour; social hierarchy; early programming
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Maternal exposure to environmental enrichment before and during gestation influences behaviour of rat offspring in a sex-specific manner / Zuena, Anna Rita; Zinni, Manuela; Giuli, Chiara; Cinque, Carlo; Alema', Giovanni Sebastiano; Alessandro, Giuliani; Catalani, Assia; Casolini, Paola; Roberto, Cozzolino. - In: PHYSIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR. - ISSN 0031-9384. - STAMPA. - 163:(2016), pp. 274-287. [10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.05.010]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/866307
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