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Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent mental disorders that are in a great demand of developing new treatments. Both genetic and environmental factors play essential roles in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders. Increasing evidence implicates environmental enrichment that shapes neural plasticity exerts beneficial effects on anxiety-related behavior in animal models. Here, we summarize the effects of enriched environment on anxiety-related behavior in rats and mice, highlight the potential mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of environmental enrichment on emotionality at cellular/molecular level, and discuss the potential directions for further research.

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Influence of enriched environment on anxiety-related behavior: evidence and mechanisms

Show Author's information Wen-Yue Li1( )Xiao-Dong Wang2,3( )
Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute (ZJU-UoE Institute), Zhejiang University, Haining 314400, China
Department of Neurobiology and Department of Psychiatry of Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310058, China
NHC and CAMS Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, MOE Frontier Science Center for Brain Research and Brain-Machine Institute, School of Brain Science and Brain Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China


Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent mental disorders that are in a great demand of developing new treatments. Both genetic and environmental factors play essential roles in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders. Increasing evidence implicates environmental enrichment that shapes neural plasticity exerts beneficial effects on anxiety-related behavior in animal models. Here, we summarize the effects of enriched environment on anxiety-related behavior in rats and mice, highlight the potential mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of environmental enrichment on emotionality at cellular/molecular level, and discuss the potential directions for further research.


anxiety, environmental enrichment, amygdala, fear, hippocampus
Received: 02 March 2020 Revised: 28 June 2020 Accepted: 22 July 2020 Published: 07 March 2021 Issue date: January 2021
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Publication history
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Publication history

Received: 02 March 2020
Revised: 28 June 2020
Accepted: 22 July 2020
Published: 07 March 2021
Issue date: January 2021


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