Epilepsy in children is occasionally associated with comorbidities, such as cognitive impairment, behavioral disturbances, and social deficits. These neurobehavioral comorbidities are closely related to environmental factors and the severity of the seizures. Previous studies show that environmental enrichment has a beneficial effect in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy following systemic chemoconvulsant administration. However, the effect of environmental enrichment on behavioral impairments in the EL mouse, a genetic model of human idiopathic epilepsy, remains unknown.
In the present study, we examined the effect of environmental enrichment on cognitive and behavioral impairments in this murine model. The EL mice, under standard laboratory conditions, exhibited impairments in spatial memory in the Morris water maze test, hyperactivity and impaired habituation in the open-field test, and a deficit in social novelty preference in the three-chamber social approach test, compared with control DDY mice, a genetically related nonepileptic strain. These impairments in EL mice were ameliorated by exposure to an enriched environment. These findings suggest that environmental enrichment effectively ameliorates cognitive and behavioral deficits in EL mice.