Short-term exposure to enriched environment in adult rats restores MK-801-induced cognitive deficits and gabaergic interneuron immunoreactivity loss
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Perinatal injections of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist in rodents emulate some cognitive impairments and neurochemical alterations, such as decreased GABAergic (gamma aminobutyric acid) interneuron immunoreactivity, also found in schizophrenia. These features are pervasive, and developing neuroprotective or neurorestorative strategies is of special interest. In this work, we aimed to investigate if a short exposure to enriched environment (EE) in early adulthood (P55-P73) was an effective strategy to improve cognitive dysfunction and to restore interneuron expression in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus (HPC). For that purpose,we administered MK-801 intraperitoneally to Long Evans rats from postnatal days 10 to 20. Twenty-four hours after the last injection, MK-801 produced a transient decrease in spontaneous motor activity and exploration, but those abnormalities were absent at P24 and P55. The open field test on P73 manifested that EE reduced anxiety-like behavior. In addition, MK-801-treated rats showed cognitive impairment in novel object recognition test that was reversed by EE. We quantified different interneuron populations based on their calcium-binding protein expression (parvalbumin, calretinin, and calbindin), glutamic acid decarboxylase 67, and neuronal nuclei-positive cells by means of unbiased stereology and found that EE enhanced interneuron immunoreactivity up to normal values in MK- 801-treated rats. Our results demonstrate that a timely intervention with EE is a powerful tool to reverse long-lasting changes in cognition and neurochemical markers of interneurons in an animal model of schizophrenia. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017.
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