Environmental enrichment sex-dependently rescues memory impairment in FABP5 KO mice not mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor

Matthew Marion, John Hamilton, Brittany Richardson, Nicole Roeder, Antonio Figueiredo, Amanda Nubelo, Eleftherios Hetelekides, Samantha Penman, Yuji Owada, Yoshiteru Kagawa, Panayotis K. Thanos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are intracellular carriers of bioactive lipids and play a role in the trafficking of endocannabinoids as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mice lacking the FABP5 gene have memory impairments. Environmental enrichment is a potent manipulation known to rescue or improve memory performance. The extent to which the memory impairments in FABP5 knockout (KO) mice can be rescued or improved through environmental conditions remains to be understood. To address this, we raised wild type (WT) and FABP5 KO mice in either socially isolated or environmental enrichment conditions during adolescence. Once in adulthood, mice were tested for Novel Object Recognition (NOR), T-maze, and Morris Water Maze (MWM) to evaluate memory performance. Mice were then euthanized to assess hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentrations. MWM results showed that male FABP5 KO mice performed worse compared to WT counterparts. Male and female mice raised in an enriched environment improved performance regardless of genotype. Results on the NOR test showed that male FABP5 KO mice displayed lower object recognition compared to WT counterparts across both environments. No differences of genotype or environment were seen in female mice. T-maze findings revealed impaired performance in socially isolated FABP5 KO mice. Adolescent environmental enrichment rescued this deficit in male, but not female, FABP5 KO mice. Lastly, environmental enrichment increased hippocampal BDNF levels in male WT mice only. Our results corroborate the previously observed role of the FABP5 gene on memory performance and identify an important interaction with the environment during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113814
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 3


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Environmental enrichment
  • FABP
  • Fatty acid-binding protein
  • Memory
  • Social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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