105 | Effects of different types of Environmental Enrichment in behavior and adult hippocampal neurogenesis

Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Rocío Beatriz Foltran | Email: rociobfoltran@gmail.com

Rocío B. Foltran , Karen M. Stefani , Agustina Resasco , Silvina L. Diaz

1° Inst. de Biología Celular y Neurociencias. UBA-CONICET. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2° Biological Research Facility. The Francis Crick Institute. Londres, Inglaterra.

Environmental enrichment (EE) is defined as the ensemble of elements or features added to the housing to stimulate the animals and facilitate the performance of natural motivated behaviors. It’s widely accepted that complex EE induces increases in adult hippocampal neurogenesis as well as performance in memory tests in rodents, besides improving animal welfare. Although simple EE is often used and recommended in animal facilities around the world, not much is known about how it could affect behavioral and neurogenic parameters in these animals. To study this, Swiss mice of both sexes were allocated into 4 housing situations: standard, complex EE and two simple EE (tube or board house) for 8 weeks. Observations in the home cage were performed to assess the occurrence of maladaptive stereotyped behaviors, and the Splash, Novelty Suppressed Feeding and Urine Sniffing tests were performed to analyze affective states. The Object Pattern Separation task was used to study spatial memory related to newborn neurons in the hippocampus. Finally, 4-week-old newborn neurons were quantified to analyze changes in adult neurogenesis. Our results show that the complex EE induces changes in all these parameters as expected, but both simple EE housings have different effects along the tests performed, which are not as robust as the ones for the complex EE. This would allow the inclusion of these kind of EE in animal facilities to better welfare without interfering with experimental variables.