Maternal Separation Produces, and a Second Separation Enhances, Core Temperature and Passive Behavioral Responses in Guinea Pig Pups

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During separation in a novel cage, guinea pig pups exhibit passive behavior that appears due to increased proinflammatory activity. To determine if separation also produces a febrile response, the present study used telemetry to provide continuous core temperature measurement of pups exposed to a novel cage for 3 h while either alone or with their mother on two consecutive days. Separation from the mother increased core temperature, with the clearest effects occurring early during separation the second day. The increased temperature was not associated with an increase in locomotor activity. Further, passive behavior during isolation exhibited pronounced sensitization from the first to second day of separation. These results show that separation produces an increase in core temperature in our testing situation, and suggest that this increase represents true fever. The findings also provide further support for the hypothesis that maternal separation induces aspects of an acute phase response in guinea pig pups. The potential role of proinflammatory activity in promoting change across days in temperature and behavior is discussed.