It is widely assumed that our actions shape our brains and that the resulting connections determine who we are. To test this idea in a reductionist setting, in which genes and environment are controlled, we investigated differences in neuroanatomy and structural covariance by ex vivo structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in mice whose behavioral activity was continuously tracked for 3 months in a large, enriched environment. We confirmed that environmental enrichment increases mouse hippocampal volumes. Stratifying the enriched group according to individual longitudinal behavioral trajectories, however, revealed striking differences in mouse brain structural covariance in continuously highly active mice compared to those whose trajectories showed signs of habituating activity. Network-based statistics identified distinct sub-networks of murine structural covariance underlying these differences in behavioral activity. Together, these results reveal that differentiated behavioral trajectories of mice in an enriched environment are associated with differences in brain connectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere80379
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2023


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