A re-evaluation of the effects of maternal care on offspring behavioral development

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jeremy D. Bailoo (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
George Michel

Abstract: Recent studies of early handling in inbred mice do not replicate results from previous work in rats. In addition, studies using extended periods of dam-offspring separation suffer from a lack of consistency in behavioral, physiological and neuroanatomical correlates. This study re-visited the maternal mediation hypothesis in an attempt to resolve some of these discrepancies. Three typical disruptions of mother-offspring relations were used: Early Handling (EH, daily 15 min separation), Maternal Separation (MS, daily 4 hr. separation from dam) and Maternal Peer Separation (MPS, daily 4 hr. separation from dam and littermates). These groups were compared to a weekly cage changed, Animal Facility Reared (AFR) group. MS & MPS dams displayed higher levels of nest attendance, quiescent nursing, activity in the nest and licking post-manipulation. In contrast to the levels of maternal care received, AFR offspring were found to be more emotional in the open field as compared to MPS offspring. Closer inspection of maternal behavior revealed substantial variability within treatment condition. Analysis of offspring behavior as a function of levels of maternal behavior revealed that pups that received high levels of quiescent nursing and activity but not licking were less "emotional". Individual differences in pup licking behavior by dams was found to predict the variability in "emotional" behavior (in open field) for AFR and EH pups but not MS & MPS pups. Future studies employing these paradigms in inbred mice must examine individual differences in maternal care and its relationship to offspring behavioral development.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Anxiety, Early Handling, Maternal Behavior, Maternal Separation, Mice, Open Field
Social isolation $v Case studies
Socialization $v Case studies
Stress (Psychology)
Developmental psychobiology
Parental behavior in animals

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