Environmental Enrichment's Effects On Exploration And Response to Novelty in Adolescent Rats

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elisabeth Artz (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Mark Zrull

Abstract: Adolescence is a critical period in development for both neural and behavioral change that is characterized by risk-taking, exploration, and novelty-seeking. However, these behavioral and neural changes may be influenced by experiences such as environmental enrichment (EE). In this study, the effects of EE on exploration and response to novelty was examined in rats at two different points in adolescence (PND 36 and PND 50). An Object in Place (OiP) task, which combines aspects of both field and object exploration upon initial exposure to the environment and at 15 and 60 min delays, was utilized to assess novel-object preference, novel-object location preference, and time and movement within the risky interior of a field. After behavioral testing was completed, activation of brain regions relevant to exploration and novelty response, the lateral amygdala (LA) and basolateral amygdala (BLA), was assessed. At PND 36, EE rats exhibited increased risk-taking among several behavioral measures when compared to controls. However, at PND 50, EE rats exhibited increased habituation or no difference among those same behavioral measures when compared to controls. While no significant difference was found in neural activation in the LA between EE rats and controls, EE rats showed significantly greater activation in the BLA than controls. These results highlight the significance of the impact of EE during adolescence and that significant behavioral changes may occur in conjunction with EE from early to late adolescence.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Elisabeth, A (2016). "Environmental Enrichment's Effects On Exploration And Response to Novelty in Adolescent Rats" Unpublished Honor's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C
Language: English
Date: 2016

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