Enriched environment effects on behavior, memory and BDNF in low and high exploratory mice

Physiol Behav. 2011 Mar 28;102(5):475-80. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.12.025. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


Environmental enrichment (EE) has been largely used to investigate behavioral modifications and neuroplasticity in the adult brain both in normal and pathological conditions. The interaction between individual behavioral traits with EE responsiveness has not been investigated within the same strain. By using two extremes of CF1 mice that differ by their exploratory behavior in the Open Field (OF) task (Kazlauckas V, 2005), denominated as Low (LE) and High (HE) Exploratory Mice, the present study evaluated if EE during adulthood could modify the putative differences between LE and HE mice on exploratory behavior, memory performance and hippocampal BDNF levels. To this end, we investigated the effect of adult LE and HE mice after 2 months of enriched or standard housing conditions on the open field, on novel object recognition, on the inhibitory avoidance task and on hippocampal BDNF immunocontent. LE showed low exploratory behavior, less retention in the inhibitory avoidance and lower hippocampal BDNF levels. EE enhanced exploratory behavior, memory performance and hippocampal BDNF levels both in LE and HE mice. Importantly, the general profile of LE mice submitted to EE was similar to HE mice housed in standard conditions. These results show that internalized behavior of LE mice can be significantly modified by exposure to an enriched environment even during adulthood. These observations may contribute to investigate biological mechanisms and therapeutical interventions for individuals with internalized psychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Environment*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Phenotype


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor