Differential effects of two types of environmental novelty on activity and sleep in BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J mice

Physiol Behav. 2005 Jul 21;85(4):419-29. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.05.008.


Change in the sleeping environment can produce significant alterations in sleep. To determine how these alterations may vary with the amount of change and the relative reactivity of the sleeper, we examined the influences of environmental novelty on sleep in two mouse strains that differ in behavioral anxiety. Mice [BALB/cJ (n=7) and C57BL/6J (n=8)] were implanted for recording EEG and activity via telemetry. Following baseline data collection, activity and sleep were examined over 46 h after routine cage change, after placing a simple novel object (PVC Tee) in the home cage, and after handling controls. Mice of both strains showed immediate increases in activity and decreases in rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and non-REM (NREM) after cage change and novel object. Within strain, changes in activity and sleep were greater after cage change than after novel object. Changes in activity and sleep time were significantly correlated in each strain. Compared to C57BL/6J mice, BALB/cJ mice exhibited greater and longer duration initial reductions in sleep time, and greater increases in EEG slow wave activity power after cage change and novel object, but these changes were not followed with subsequent increases in sleep time. In contrast, C57BL/6J mice showed significantly greater subsequent increases in sleep time following the initial reductions induced by both manipulations. The results suggest that initial decreases and subsequent increases in sleep time are related to putative differences in the intensity of environmental novelty (cage change>novel object) and to previously described strain differences in anxiety (BALB/cJ>C57BL/6J).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Exploratory Behavior / classification*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Telemetry / methods
  • Time Factors