Behavioural changes in mothers and maternally sensitised female mice

Éva R. Szabó, Melinda Cservenák, Thomas A. Lutz, Lorinc Gévai, Miklós Endrényi, László Simon, A. Dobolyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The maternal motivation and depression-like behaviour of primiparous mother and maternally sensitised virgin female mice were investigated. During a 1-h test period, dams and sensitised female mice spent significantly more time in pup-associated than in control cages when they could freely choose between them, while virgin control and ovariectomised females had no such preference. In the forced swim test, the time spent in active (swimming and struggling) and passive (floating) behaviours was measured for 6 min. Mother mice spent more time engaged in active behaviours than virgin and sensitised female mice, while the latter two groups did not differ from each other in the forced swim test. The results suggest that maternal motivation is increased in postpartum mothers and maternally sensitised female mice. We also provide the first demonstration that postpartum mother mice display anti-depression-like behaviours in the forced swim test, while maternally sensitised females do not show such emotional changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1819
Number of pages19
Issue number12-13
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Evaluation of laboratory animal tracking
  • Forced swim test
  • Maternal motivation
  • Mouse dams
  • Postpartum depression
  • Pup-induced conditioned place preference
  • Sensitised behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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  • Cite this

    Szabó, É. R., Cservenák, M., Lutz, T. A., Gévai, L., Endrényi, M., Simon, L., & Dobolyi, A. (2015). Behavioural changes in mothers and maternally sensitised female mice. Behaviour, 152(12-13), 1801-1819.