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The effects of early maternal deprivation on auditory information processing in adult Wistar rats

The effects of early maternal deprivation on auditory information processing in adult Wistar rats

Biological Psychiatry 55(7): 701-707

ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3223

PMID: 15038998

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2003.10.024

There is now ample evidence that schizophrenia is due to an interaction between genetic and (early) environmental factors which disturbs normal development of the central nervous system and ultimately leads to the development of clinical symptoms. Recently, we showed that a single 24-hour period of maternal deprivation of rat pups at postnatal day 9 leads to a disturbance in prepulse inhibition, similar to what is seen in schizophrenia. The present set of experiments was designed to further characterize the information processing deficits of maternally deprived Wistar rats. Wistar rats were deprived from their mother for 24 hours on postnatal day 9. At adult age, rats were tested in the acoustic startle paradigm for prepulse inhibition and startle habituation. Rats were also tested in the evoked potentials paradigm for auditory sensory gating. The results show that maternal deprivation led to a reduction in acoustic startle habituation and auditory sensory gating in adult rats. Moreover, maternal deprivation disrupted prepulse inhibition but only when the prepulses were given shortly (50-100 milliseconds) before the startle stimulus. At longer intervals (250-1000 milliseconds), no effect was seen. The implications for the model and the development of disturbances in information processes are discussed.

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Accession: 050622237

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