Neurobehavioral effects of environmental enrichment and drug abuse vulnerability

Dustin J. Stairs, Michael T. Bardo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Environmental enrichment during development produces a host of neurobehavioral effects in preclinical models. Early work demonstrated that enrichment enhances learning of a variety of behavioral tasks in rats and these changes are associated with neural changes in various cortical regions. In addition to promoting superior learning, more recent evidence suggests that environmental enrichment also has a protective effect in reducing drug abuse vulnerability. The current review describes some of the most important environment-dependent neural changes in reward-relevant brain structures and summarizes some of the key findings from the extensive literature showing how enrichment decreases the impact of drugs of abuse. Some critical neural mechanisms that may mediate the behavioral changes are postulated, along with some notes of caution about the limitations of the work cited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-382
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurobehavioral effects of environmental enrichment and drug abuse vulnerability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this