Neurobehavioural sequelae of social deprivation in rodents revisited: Modelling social adversity for developmental neuropsychiatric disorders.

11 Apr 2018

The significance of investigating effects of deprivation of social experience in rodents is reviewed in the context of the review by Robbins et al. (1996) in the Journal of Psychopharmacology (10: 39-47). The early development of the paradigm by which rats were reared post-weaning in social isolation is described and compared with other early experience manipulations. The specification of the neural and behavioural phenotype of the isolate is brought up-to-date, focusing on changes in motivation and cognitive function, as well as on contrasting changes in the dopamine and serotonin systems, and in cortical (including hippocampal) structure and function. The relevance of the isolate for animal models of psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia is reviewed, and it is considered that the paradigm best exemplifies a manipulation that can be applied to test effects of certain forms of social adversity during adolescence on brain development and behaviour.