Exploratory behavior was measured in an open field box constructed of white Plexiglas (45 × 30 × 25 cm) as previously described (Benatti et al., 2011). Tests were recorded using a video camera. Animals were accustomed to the experimental room for 1 h prior to the experiment. The floor and walls of the arena were wiped between trials, first with water and then with 30% v/v alcohol: distilled water solution to prevent mice from following the scent of a previously tested animal. The illumination in the center of the arena was 100 lux. At the beginning of the test, each mouse was placed individually in the center of the arena. In each 5 min session, the following parameters were evaluated using Smart software (version 2.5): total distance traveled and distance traveled in the central part (12 × 12 cm) of the arena (centimeters), time spent in the center, and resting time in the whole arena and the central area (seconds). Total distance traveled is an index of general locomotor (horizontal) behavior, whereas the total number of rearings is an index of locomotor activity (vertical). Time spent within the central area vs. the rest of the open field arena is a measure of anxiety-like behavior.

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