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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(11), 22258-22273; doi:10.3390/ijms141122258

Environmental Enrichment Decreases Asphyxia-Induced Neurobehavioral Developmental Delay in Neonatal Rats

1,†,*  and 2,†
Received: 14 September 2013 / Revised: 18 October 2013 / Accepted: 28 October 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotective Strategies 2014)
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Perinatal asphyxia during delivery produces long-term disability and represents a major problem in neonatal and pediatric care. Numerous neuroprotective approaches have been described to decrease the effects of perinatal asphyxia. Enriched environment is a popular strategy to counteract nervous system injuries. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether enriched environment is able to decrease the asphyxia-induced neurobehavioral developmental delay in neonatal rats. Asphyxia was induced in ready-to-deliver mothers by removing the pups by caesarian section after 15 min of asphyxia. Somatic and neurobehavioral development was tested daily and motor coordination weekly. Our results show that rats undergoing perinatal asphyxia had a marked developmental delay and worse performance in motor coordination tests. However, pups kept in enriched environment showed a decrease in the developmental delay observed in control asphyctic pups. Rats growing up in enriched environment did not show decrease in weight gain after the first week and the delay in reflex appearance was not as marked as in control rats. In addition, the development of motor coordination was not as strikingly delayed as in the control group. Short-term neurofunctional outcome are known to correlate with long-term deficits. Our results thus show that enriched environment could be a powerful strategy to decrease the deleterious developmental effects of perinatal asphyxia.
Keywords: asphyxia; enriched environment; reflex development; motor coordination asphyxia; enriched environment; reflex development; motor coordination
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Kiss, P.; Vadasz, G.; Kiss-Illes, B.; Horvath, G.; Tamas, A.; Reglodi, D.; Koppan, M. Environmental Enrichment Decreases Asphyxia-Induced Neurobehavioral Developmental Delay in Neonatal Rats. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 22258-22273.

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