096 | Impact of limited bedding and nesting paradigm on maternal behavior of rat. A networks analysis approach

Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Lucero B Cuevas | Email: lucerobrianacuevascama@gmail.com

Lucero B. Cuevas , Enver M. Oruro , Grace E. Pardo

1° Laboratorio de Investigación en Neurociencias, Instituto Científico, Universidad Andina del Cusco
2° Laboratorio de Neurocomputación, Simulación Social y Sistemas Complejos, Instituto Científico, Universidad Andina del Cusco

Home-cage disruption of maternal care by limiting the bedding and nesting material (LBN) in rats during the early postpartum period impacts the neurobehavioral development of offspring. Mother rats exposed to LBN are reported to exhibit fragmented maternal care resulting from more frequent and shorter bouts of maternal behavior and unpredictability resulting from higher transitions from one type of maternal behavior to another. Fragmentation and unpredictability profiles could be inferred from a daily video recordings analysis of maternal behavior; however, it is challenging to infer from direct and continuous observations. In this work, we propose a method to analyze maternal behavior and determine fragmentation and unpredictability profiles from direct and continuous observations using network analysis. We recorded the maternal behavior of rats exposed to the LBN paradigm from postpartum days 2 to 9 and analyzed it using inferential statistics. Using NetLogo software, behaviors were also visualized as a network, with each behavioral repertoire as nodes and their links. Network analysis was able to visualize and quantitatively analyze the fragmentation and unpredictability of maternal behavior in LBN dams, characterized by a more connected and less segregated network with decreased measures of centrality at various nodes compared to the control dams’ network, characterized by a less connected and more segregated network, with a higher measure of centrality in few nodes.