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Title: Short environmental enrichment in adulthood reverses anxiety and basolateral amygdala hypertrophy induced by maternal separation
Authors: Koe, Amelia S.
Ashokan, Archana
Mitra, Rupshi
Keywords: Stress Hormone
DRNTU::Science::Biological sciences
Issue Date: 2016
Source: Koe, A. S., Ashokan, A., & Mitra, R. (2016). Short environmental enrichment in adulthood reverses anxiety and basolateral amygdala hypertrophy induced by maternal separation. Translational Psychiatry, 6(2), e729-. doi:10.1038/tp.2015.217
Series/Report no.: Translational Psychiatry
Abstract: Maternal separation during early childhood results in greater sensitivity to stressors later in adult life. This is reflected as greater propensity to develop stress-related disorders in humans and animal models, including anxiety and depression. Environmental enrichment (EE) reverses some of the damaging effects of maternal separation in rodent models when provided during peripubescent life, temporally proximal to the separation. It is presently unknown if EE provided outside this critical window can still rescue separation-induced anxiety and neural plasticity. In this report we use a rat model to demonstrate that a single short episode of EE in adulthood reduced anxiety-like behaviour in maternally separated rats. We further show that maternal separation resulted in hypertrophy of dendrites and increase in spine density of basolateral amygdala neurons in adulthood, long after initial stress treatment. This is congruent with prior observations showing centrality of basolateral amygdala hypertrophy in anxiety induced by stress during adulthood. In line with the ability of the adult enrichment to rescue stress-induced anxiety, we show that enrichment renormalized stress-induced structural expansion of the amygdala neurons. These observations argue that behavioural plasticity induced by early adversity can be rescued by environmental interventions much later in life, likely mediated by ameliorating effects of enrichment on basolateral amygdala plasticity.
DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.217
Rights: © 2016 The Author(s) (Nature Publishing Group). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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