First Advisor

Lafosse, Jose M.

College

Regis College

Degree Name

BS

School

Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

45 pages

Abstract

Enriched environments (EE) integrate complex housing conditions with social stimulation and are shown to ameliorate symptoms of depression in rats with as much success as pharmacological treatment. Furthermore, rearing in EE is associated with an increase in hippocampal neourgenesis. This study attempted to demonstrate the depression related behavioral effects of rearing in EE in comparison to rearing in social isolation (SI) using a sucrose preference test (SPT) and forced swim test (FST). I hypothesized that rats reared in EE would exhibit less anhedonia and behavioral despair during and after exposure to a chronic mild stress (CMS) procedure and would show an increased density of neurons in the hippocampus. The rats were reared for 61 days in either EE or SI conditions and then exposed to CMS for 14 days. Behavioral measures were taken during and after CMS. Upon completion of the behavioral study, three rats form each condition were sacrificed and neuronal density in the hippocampus was determined. I found that EE prevented behavioral despair demonstrated by the FST and that EE increased the density of neurons in the hippocampus providing a possible mechanism for the behavioral effects of EE.

Date of Award

Spring 2009

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.

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