Differential effects of post-weaning juvenile stress on the behaviour of C57BL/6 mice in adolescence and adulthood

Daria Peleg-Raibstein, Joram Feldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: There is evidence that events early in post-weaning life influence brain development and subsequent adult behaviour and therefore play an important role in the causation of certain psychiatric disorders in later life. Exposing rodents to stressors during the juvenile period has been suggested as a model of induced predisposition for these disorders. Objective: This is the first study to examine behavioural and pharmacological changes in adolescence and adulthood following juvenile stress in mice. Materials and methods: Two cohorts of mice were simultaneously exposed to a stress protocol during postnatal days (PND) 25-30. Behavioural assessments reflecting emotional functions, cognitive functions, and psychostimulant sensitivity were then carried out at two time points: one cohort was tested during adolescence (PND 39-54; adolescent group), and the second cohort was tested during adulthood (PND 81-138; adult group). Results: In the adolescent mice, juvenile stress significantly attenuated conditioned freezing and led to decreased anxiety-like behaviour in the elevated plus maze, whereas no effect was observed on these tests in the adult mice. In contrast, adult mice exhibited poor avoidance learning following juvenile stress. When tested during adulthood, the mice stressed during the juvenile period showed a sensitised response to amphetamine compared to controls, whereas the response during adolescence was similar in stressed and control animals. Conclusions: Our results suggest that exposure to stressors during the juvenile period can exert long-term effects on the brain and behaviour and that these effects differ depending on whether the animals are tested during adolescence or adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-351
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Amphetamine
  • Behaviour
  • Early life
  • Juvenile
  • Mice
  • Stress


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