Background: Environmental enrichment (EE) exposure is known to influence the structural changes in the neuronal network of hippocampus. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of EE exposure on the streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic and stressed rat hippocampus. Methods: Male albino rats of Wistar strain (4-5 weeks old) were grouped into normal control (NC), vehicle control (VC), diabetes (DI), diabetes + stress (DI + S), diabetes + EE (DI + E), and diabetes + stress + EE (DI + S + E) groups (n = 8 in each group). Rats were exposed to stress and EE after inducing diabetes with STZ (40 mg/kg). Rats were sacrificed on Day 30 and brain sections were processed for cresyl violet staining to quantify the number of surviving neurons in the CA1, CA3, and dentate hilus (DH) regions of hippocampus. Results: A significant (p < 0.001) decrease in the number of survived neurons was noticed in DI (CA1, 34.06 ± 3.2; CA3, 36.1 ± 3.62; DH, 9.83 ± 2.02) as well as DI + S (CA1, 14.03 ± 3.12; CA3, 20.27 ± 4.09; DH, 6.4 ± 1.21) group rats compared to NC rats (CA1, 53.64 ± 2.96; CA3, 62.1 ± 3.34; DH, 21.11 ± 1.03). A significant (p < 0.001) increase in the number of survived neurons was observed in DI + E (CA1, 42.3 ± 3.66; CA3, 46.73 ± 4.74; DH, 17.03 ± 2.19) and DI + S + E (CA1, 29.69 ± 4.47; CA3, 36.73 ± 3.89; DH, 12.23 ± 2.36) group rats compared to DI and DI + S groups, respectively. Conclusions: EE exposure significantly reduced the amount of neuronal damage caused by complications of diabetes and stress to the neurons of hippocampus.
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