The Examination of Cross Fostering with ICR Mice as a Model for Foster Care

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2020-05

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Abstract

Foster care youth face significant challenges and are at greater health risk than their non-fostered counterparts (Kools et al., 2009). The current research seeks to investigate behavioral impacts of cross fostering (CF) and repeated cross fostering (RCF) in early life. This design can then be implicative of what foster children experience when they are moved from home to home. Nine timed pregnant ICR mice were randomly assigned to the control, CF, or RCF group. RCF pups were placed with a foster mother on PND 1 and then moved to a second foster mom on PND 11. CF pups moved to a foster mom on PND 1. Maternal behavior was noted with cross fostering. At PND 21 the pups began behavioral testing (OFT, EZM, MWM, and ADL). RCF and CF mice showed more anxiety compared to the controls. Early life stress plays a large role in behavior and development.

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Keywords

cross foster, repeated cross foster, early life stress, ICR mice, foster care

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