Early postnatal handling and environmental enrichment improve the behavioral responses of 17-month-old 3xTg-AD and non-transgenic mice in the Forced Swim Test in a gender-dependent manner

Virginia Torres-Lista, Lydia Giménez-Llort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Forced Swimming Test (FST) models behavioural despair in animals by loss of motivation to respond or the refusal to escape. The present study was aimed at characterizing genetic (genotype and gender) and environmental factors (age/stage of disease and rearing conditions: C, standard; H, early postnatal handling; EE, environmental enrichment consisting in physical exercise as well as social and object enrichment) that may modulate the poor behavioural and cognitive flexibility response we have recently described in 12-month-old male 3xTg-AD mice in the FST. The comprehensive analysis of the ethogram shown in the FST considered the intervals of the test (0-2 and 2-6 min), all the elicited behavioural responses (immobility, swimming and climbing) and their features (total duration and frequency of episodes). The long persistence of behaviours found in 17-month-old (late-stages of disease) 3xTg-AD mice was comparable to that recently described in males at 12 months of age (beginning of advanced stages) but also suggested increased age-dependent frailty in both genotypes. The poor behavioral flexibility of 3xTg-AD mice to elicit the behavioural despair shown by the NTg mice, was also found in the female gender. Finally, the present work demonstrates that early-life interventions were able to improve the time and frequency of episodes of immobility, being more evident in the female gender of both old NTg and 3xTg-AD mice. Ontogenic modulation by early-postnatal handling resulted in a more effective long-term improvement of the elicited behaviours in the FST than that achieved by environmental enrichment. The results talk in favor of the beneficence of early-life interventions on ageing in both healthy and disease conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Behavioural despair
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Early-life interventions
  • Persistence of behaviours

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