The aim of this work was to study age-related changes in the behaviour of adult Wistar rats using the open field (OF) and elevated plus maze (EPM) tests. Behavioural changes related to motor activity and anxiety were of particular interest. Results showed that as male and female rats progressed from 2 to 5 months of age there was a decrease in the level of motor and exploratory activities, and an increase in the level of anxiety. Age-related changes were dependent upon initial individual characteristics of behaviour. For example, animals that demonstrated high motor activity at 2 months become significantly less active by 5 months, and animals that showed a low level of anxiety at 2 months become more anxious by 5 months. Low-activity and high-anxiety rats did not show any significant age-related changes in OF and EPM tests from 2 to 5 months of age, except for a decrease in the number of rearings in EPM. Significant individual differences in the behaviour of rats in OF and EPM tests observed at 2 months were not apparent by 5 months.
age; behaviour; open field; physical activity; anxiety; Wistar rat.
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