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Environmental enrichment induces behavioural disturbances in neuropeptide Y knockout mice


Environmental enrichment (EE) refers to the provision of a complex and stimulating housing condition which improves well-being, behaviour and brain function of laboratory animals. The mechanisms behind these beneficial effects of EE are only partially understood. In the current report, we describe a link between EE and neuropeptide Y (NPY), based on findings from NPY knockout (KO) mice exposed to EE. Relative to EE-housed wildtype (WT) animals, NPY KO mice displayed altered behaviour as well as molecular and morphological changes in amygdala and hippocampus. Exposure of WT mice to EE reduced anxiety and decreased central glucocorticoid receptor expression, effects which were absent in NPY KO mice. In addition, NPY deletion altered the preference of EE items, and EE-housed NPY KO mice responded to stress with exaggerated hyperthermia, displayed impaired spatial memory, had higher hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA levels and altered hippocampal synaptic plasticity, effects which were not seen in WT mice. Accordingly, these findings suggest that NPY contributes to the anxiolytic effect of EE and that NPY deletion reverses the beneficial effects of EE into a negative experience. The NPY system could thus be a target for

Type Journal
ISBN 2045-2322 (Electronic) 2045-2322 (Linking)
Authors Reichmann, F. ; Wegerer, V. ; Jain, P. ; Mayerhofer, R. ; Hassan, A. M. ; Frohlich, E. E. ; Bock, E. ; Pritz, E. ; Herzog, H. ; Holzer, P. ; Leitinger, G.;
Publisher Name Scientific Reports
Published Date 2016-01-01
Published Volume 6
Published Pages 28182
Status Published in-print
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version