Differential effects of social isolation in adolescent and adult mice on behavior and cortical gene expression

Sharon S. Lander, Donna Linder-Shacham, Inna Gaisler-Salomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intact function of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) function relies on proper development of excitatory and inhibitory neuronal populations and on integral myelination processes. Social isolation (SI) affects behavior and brain circuitry in adulthood, but previous rodent studies typically induced prolonged (post-weaning) exposure and failed to directly compare between the effects of SI in adolescent and adulthood. Here, we assessed the impact of a 3-week SI period, starting in mid-adolescence (around the onset of puberty) or adulthood, on a wide range of behaviors in adult male mice. Additionally, we asked whether adolescent SI would differentially affect the expression of excitatory and inhibitory neuronal markers and myelin-related genes in mPFC. Our findings indicate that mid-adolescent or adult SI increase anxiogenic behavior and locomotor activity. However, SI in adolescence uniquely affects the response to the psychotomimetic drug amphetamine, social and novelty exploration and performance in reversal and attentional set shifting tasks. Furthermore, adolescent but not adult SI increased the expression of glutamate markers in the adult mPFC. Our results imply that adolescent social deprivation is detrimental for normal development and may be particularly relevant to the investigation of developmental psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • GABA
  • Glutamate
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Mouse
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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