2020 Volume 69 Issue 2 Pages 161-167
Environmental enrichment (EE) can reduce anxiety and stress in experimental animals, while little is known about the influence on autonomic nervous activity especially in disease animal models. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction, which can be characterized by a higher resting heart rate and a lower heart rate variability (HRV). We hypothesized that EE can enhance parasympathetic nervous activity while reducing disease progression in type 2 diabetic mice. A telemetry transmitter was implanted in NSY mice to continuously record electrocardiograms (ECG). Animals were kept in a cage with or without a nest box as EE. The autonomic nervous activity was evaluated using power spectral analysis of HRV. Four weeks of EE could increase high frequency (HF) power, but no change was observed in the absence of EE. Although animals showed impaired glucose tolerance at 48 weeks of age regardless of EE, a worsen case was observed in control. These results indicate that EE can be necessary for long-term housing of experimental animals and may reduce the risk of impaired glucose tolerance in NSY mice by enhancing parasympathetic nervous activity. In future, it is demanded whether increasing parasympathetic nervous activity, whatever the method is, can prevent diabetes from worsening.