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Effect of environmental exposure to a maternally-learned odorant on anxiety-like behaviors at weaning in mice

Abstract : Early sensory experience, such as exposure to maternal or other environmental factors, is considered to influence neurocognitive development and behaviors. In many species, exposure to odorants during pregnancy or lactation impacts the morpho-functional development of the olfactory circuitry with changes in olfactory sensitivity, feeding behavior and food preferences at birth or later. However, few studies have investigated the impact of a perinatal exposure to odorants on the anxiety-like behavior of animals to stressfull stimuli. Here, we exposed mice to heptaldehyde (HEP) during pregnancy and lactation and measured the anxiety-like behavior of their offspring to stress-inducing novel stimuli at weaning in presence or absence of odorants. We applied a combined social and maternal separation as a stressor and measured the anxiety-like behavior in an open field (OF) in presence of two odorants, HEP or alpha-pinene (AP) as a control odorant. Although the presence of the odorant during the social separation did not influence anxiety-like behavior, we found that, if mice born to non-odorized mothers exhibited a decreased exploratory behavior in the presence of both odorants, the effect was restricted to AP for the mice perinatally exposed to HEP. These results show that anxiety-like behaviors during a stress-inducing event could be reduced by the presence of a familiar odorant. We propose that the recall of an early olfactory experience could contribute to the improvement of animal welfare in various situations associated with husbandry practices.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02573403
Contributor : Angélique Favreau-Peigné <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 12:10:35 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 9, 2021 - 4:16:53 PM

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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Aurélie Dewaele, Karine Badonnel, Marie-Annick Persuy, Didier Durieux, Vincent Bombail, et al.. Effect of environmental exposure to a maternally-learned odorant on anxiety-like behaviors at weaning in mice. Animal Cognition, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2020, 23 (5), pp.881-891. ⟨10.1007/s10071-020-01393-0⟩. ⟨hal-02573403⟩

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