Social isolation during adolescence changes brain development in mice

Social isolation can change brain development as well as changing behavior in adulthood, at least in mice, according to a press release of the Society for Neuroscience and its study published in eNeuro.

The researchers carried out experiments on female mice by housing them for long periods during adolescence alone. Since the brain was still in development, the researchers were able to follow the changes during growth. They noted that the brain of mice in isolation showed an atypical pathway and this mainly concerned the prefrontal cortex, an area where cortical development was partially interrupted.

In addition, these mice, once adults and reintroduced into the social environment, showed overly repetitive habitual behavior. According to researchers, during adolescence, there is a critical period during which excessive social isolation compromises brain structure and adult behavior.

Previous research had already found links between brain development and social experience.