FENS Forum of European Neuroscience edition:7 location:Amsterdam date:3 - 7 July 2010
Rodents reared in isolation from pre-puberty onwards manifest a number of behavioural changes that can be characterized as schizophrenia-related behaviour. The isolation rearing model is therefore considered to have translational relevance to schizophrenia symptoms. The bulk of research concerning this environmental manipulation has been performed in rats; the behavioural characterisation of mice reared in isolation is far from complete. This study was therefore set up to further evaluate the behavioural consequences of isolation rearing in mice. Male C57BL/6J mice (n = 24) were weaned on post natal day 21 and housed individually or in group (3 mice per cage). When mice were 9 weeks old, they were submitted to a test battery spanning the classical symptom domains observed in schizophrenia: i.e. positive symptoms (spontaneous locomotion and induced locomotion after psychostimulant administration), negative symptoms (sociability/preference for social novelty), cognitive symptoms (prepulse inhibition, fear conditioning and extinction learning). We observed in isolation-reared mice a number of behavioural modifications including reduced startle reactivity, impaired habituation of startle response, increased preference for social novelty and delayed fear extinction. Clinical relevance of these data is discussed with respect to schizophrenia.