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Effects of environmental enrichment on behavioral and spatial cognitive deficits in morphine-dependent and -withdrawn rats

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This study was designed to examine the effect of environmental enrichment during morphine dependence and withdrawal on morphine-induced behavioral and spatial cognitive disorders in morphine-withdrawn rats. Adult male Wistar rats (190 ± 20 g) were injected with bi-daily doses (10 mg/kg, 12 h intervals) of morphine for 14 days. Rats were reared in SE or EE during the development of dependence on morphine and withdrawal. Then, rats were tested for spatial learning and memory (the water maze), spontaneous withdrawal signs, and grooming behavior. We found that the EE blocked chronic morphine-induced partial impairments of spatial memory retention. Moreover, the EE diminished the occurrence of spontaneous morphine withdrawal signs as mild and the self-grooming behavior. Our findings showed that EE ameliorates chronic morphine-induced partial deficits of spatial cognition, obsessive-like behavior, and the overall severity of the morphine withdrawal. Thus, environmental enrichment may be a potential therapeutic strategy for spatial memory and behavioral deficits in morphine-dependent individuals.
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Keywords: comportement de toilettage; enriched environment; environnement enrichi; grooming behavior; morphine-dependent and -withdrawn rats; mémoire spatiale; rats dépendants de la morphine et en sevrage de celle-ci; signes spontanés de sevrage; spatial memory; spontaneous withdrawal signs

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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