Prolonged Maternal Separation Reduces Anxiety State and Increases Compulsive Burying Activity in the Offspring of BALB/c Mice

Qais Jarrar, Rami Ayoub, Kawther Alhussine, Khang Wen Goh, Said Moshawih, Chrismawan Ardianto, Bey Hing Goh, Long Chiau Ming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The elevated plus maze (EPM) and the marble burying (MB) tests are common behavioral tests used for behavioral phenotyping in mouse models for neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the behavioral effects of maternal separation (MS), a standard paradigm for early life stress in animals, in both the EPM and MB tests remain incompletely known. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the behavioral effects of prolonged MS in the offspring of mice using the EPM and MB tests. Methods: Male BALB/c mice were isolated from their mothers for 4 h each day during the first 30 days after birth. On day 50 postnatal, groups of separated and non-separated mice (n = 18/each group) were subjected to the EPM and MB tests for comparative behavioral evaluations. In addition, the locomotor activity of mice was evaluated using the actophotometer test. Results: The findings of the EPM test revealed that separated mice exhibited anxiolytic-like behaviors, as evidenced by a significant increase in the latency to closed arms and the time spent in the open arms compared with non-separated mice. Separated mice also showed compulsive burying activity in the MB test, as determined by a significant increase in the number of buried marbles. The results of the actophotometer test did not show any significant change in locomotor activity. Conclusions: Prolonged MS caused the adult offspring of mice to exhibit a decrease in anxiety state and increased compulsive burying activity, which were not associated with a change in locomotor activity. Further investigations with validated tests are needed to support these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1921
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • adaptation
  • anxiety
  • compulsivity
  • depression
  • impulsivity
  • marble burying test
  • maternal separation
  • mental disease
  • pregnancy
  • reproductive health


Dive into the research topics of 'Prolonged Maternal Separation Reduces Anxiety State and Increases Compulsive Burying Activity in the Offspring of BALB/c Mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this