Beneficial effects of enriched environment on behaviors were correlated with decreased estrogen and increased BDNF in the hippocampus of male mice.
OBJECTIVE: Previous studies reported that environmental enrichment might induce various beneficial effects in the central nervous system. However, the effect of environmental factors on endogenous estrogen level was not investigated. The present study was designed to examine the effect of enriched environment on endogenous estrogen in hippocampus and behavioral outcomes.
METHODS: Behavioural measurements, including open field, elevated plus maze and Morris water maze, were used to evaluate anxiety and learning and memory of the male C57BL/6J mice that were housed in enriched environment for five months. In addition, the estrogen and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the hippocampus were measured.
RESULTS: We found that environmental enrichment decreased anxiety-like behaviors and facilitated spatial learning and memory in male C57BL/6J mice. In addition, the mice raised in enriched environment showed decreased endogenous estrogen levels both in the hippocampus and plasma compared to controls. Furthermore, our results indicated that environmental enrichment up-regulated BDNF mRNA expression level in the hippocampus.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, environmental enrichment decreased anxiety-like behaviors and facilitated spatial learning and memory in male C57BL/6J mice. Lastly, environmental enrichment up-regulated BDNF mRNA expression level in the hippocampus and decreased plasma estrogen level. The possible mechanism remained to be determined....