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A review of the behavioral and neurochemical consequences of early weaning in rodents. (Special Issue: Early Weaning.)

By T. Kikusui, K. Nakamura, Y. Mori

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In mammals, mother-infant bonding is based on the dependence of the infant on the mother for sustenance, i.e., the infant suckles milk, but also involving a need for physical contact. Weaning is one of the most important events that occur in developing animals and the timing of natural weaning is dependent on environmental resources during the nursing period, i.e., if mothers rear their offspring under severe conditions, there is a trade-off between weaning at an earlier time, reducing offspring survival, and increased maternal survival. In the production of laboratory rodents offspring are routinely weaned earlier than in nature. Disruption of mother-infant bonding can induce physical and behavioral problems, including increased neuroendocrine stress responses, augmentation of fear and aggression, and reduced maternal behaviour. Here, we review the long-lasting effects of early weaning on adult rodent behavior and neuroendocrinology.

Date 2008
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 110
Issue 1/2
Pages 73-83
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Laboratory of Veterinary Ethology, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aggression
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Anxiety
  5. Attachment behavior
  6. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  7. Bonds
  8. Fear
  9. Mammals
  10. Maternal behavior
  11. Mice
  12. misbehavior
  13. misconduct
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. Rats
  16. Reviews
  17. Rodents
  18. sex differences
  19. Stress
  20. Stress response
  21. weaning
  1. peer-reviewed