The Impact of Age and Exercise on Stressed Mice




Oakley, Kateri

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Adolescence is a period that is often accompanied by increased stress levels, leading to negative effects on learning and memory. Stress during critical periods of brain development, including adolescence, can often lead to negative future memory performance. Adolescents are not the only ones affected by stress; negative results in learning and memory have also been seen within adult populations. The current study aimed to explore whether age and exercise had an impact on learning and memory in stressed mice. Adolescent mice expressed less anxiety-related behaviors and had higher locomotor activity compared to adults in the Open Field (OFT) behavioral test (p < 0.05). Adults who exercised expressed more risk taking behavior within the Elevated Zero Maze (EZM) (p < 0.05). However, adults showed better learning and memory results compared to adolescents in the Morris Water Maze (MWM) behavioral test (p = 0.054). Adolescents that exercised showed less risk-taking behaviors but had more defensive behaviors seen through the burrowing assay (ADL) measure (p < 0.05). The findings from this study showed agreement with previous literature. However, there were several instances where previous findings did not match with what was found in the current study. Future research should investigate the impacts that age and exercise have on mice throughout the lifespan; this will aim to fill in gaps present within the literature.