Adolescent social isolation influences cognitive function in adult rats

Neural Regen Res. 2013 Apr 15;8(11):1025-30. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.11.008.

Abstract

Adolescence is a critical period for neurodevelopment. Evidence from animal studies suggests that isolated rearing can exert negative effects on behavioral and brain development. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of adolescent social isolation on latent inhibition and brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in the forebrain of adult rats. Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into adolescent isolation (isolated housing, 38-51 days of age) and social groups. Latent inhibition was tested at adulthood. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels were measured in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Adolescent social isolation impaired latent inhibition and increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in the medial prefrontal cortex of young adult rats. These data suggest that adolescent social isolation has a profound effect on cognitive function and neurotrophin levels in adult rats and may be used as an animal model of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords: adolescence; adult; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; cognitive function; grants-supported paper; latent inhibition; medial prefrontal cortex; neural regeneration; neurodevelopmental disorders; neuroregeneration; nucleus accumbens; social isolation.