Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Maternal separation alters the open field behavior of diazepam-treated rats


There is evidence that maternal separation of neonatal rats may influence the adult rat behaviors and the responsibility to psychotropic drugs [14]. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of maternal separation on the open field behavior of diazepam-treated rats.

Materials and methods

Male Wistar rat pups were reared under 2 conditions: 1) 360 min daily maternal separation (MS) or 2) left undisturbed with their mothers (non maternal separation (NMS). At 21 days of age, these rats were housed in each group for four weeks. Subsequently, they were tested individually for their sensitivity to diazepam for 5 min in a circular open field arena.


Drug free MS rats, significantly showed hyperlocomotion (increased total zone transition) and more exploration activity (increased number of rears) when compared with the NMS rats (P<0.05). Pretreatment with diazepam (1 and 2 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min before a 5 min open field test produced a dose related decrease locomotion and exploration activity in the MS rats compared with the saline treated MS rats, but these effects of diazepam were not observed in the NMS rats. Moreover, diazepam (2 mg/kg, i.p.) caused the anxiolytic effect (decreased the inner zone entries) only in the MS rats.


These results suggested that maternal separation of neonatal rats increased locomotion and exploration behaviors of male adult rats, and enhances the anxiolytic effect of diazepam.


  1. Lovic V, Fleming AS: Artificially-reared female rats show reduced prepulse inhibition and deficits in the attentional set shifting task–reversal of effects with maternal-like licking stimulation. Behav Brain Res. 2004, 148: 209-219. 10.1016/S0166-4328(03)00206-7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Wongwitdecha N, Yoopan N: Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2005, 39 (Suppl 2): A74-A75.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Wongwitdecha N.: World J Biol Psychiat. 2007, 8 (Suppl 1): 115-

    Google Scholar 

  4. Zimmerberg B, Kim JH, Davidson AN, Rosenthal AJ: Early deprivation alters the vocalization behavior of neonates directing maternal attention in a rat model of child neglect. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2003, 1008: 308-313. 10.1196/annals.1301.039.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wongwitdecha, N., Yoopan, N. & Srisomboonlert, S. Maternal separation alters the open field behavior of diazepam-treated rats. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S236 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: