Early enriched physical environment reverses impairments of the hippocampus, but not medial prefrontal cortex, of socially-isolated mice

Min Cao, Tinglin Pu, Linmei Wang, Charles Marshall, Hongliang He, Gang Hu, Ming Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Early social isolation (SI) produces a variety of emotional, behavioral and cognitive abnormalities. Conversely, environmental enrichment (EE), a complicated social and physical construct, offers beneficial effects on brain plasticity and development. However, whether or not exclusive physical EE is sufficient to reverse the adverse consequences of early SI remains unclear. Here we reported that 1 month-old solitary mice housed in the EE for 8 weeks corrected spatial cognitive dysfunction, but did not ameliorate social interaction deficits and increased anxiety-like behavior. Pathological analyses revealed that the enriched environment decreased cellular apoptosis, synaptic protein loss, myelination defect and microglial activation in the hippocampus, but not medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of mice housed singly. Moreover, increased nuclear factor-kappaB and interleukin-1β levels, and downregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling pathway were normalized in the hippocampus rather than mPFC of these animals. Our results revealed a brain region-specific effectiveness of physical EE in remediating brain impairment of adolescent SI mice, with a complete reversal of hippocampus-dependent cognitive dysfunctions, but without mitigation of mPFC associated anxiety and social interaction defects. This finding emphasizes the irreplaceable role of social life for the early brain development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-243
Number of pages12
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume64
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Hippocampus
  • Social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Early enriched physical environment reverses impairments of the hippocampus, but not medial prefrontal cortex, of socially-isolated mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this