Malnourished rats since birth (mothers fed on 6% of protein) or controlled ones (16% of protein), half of each group received environmental stimulation (ES) from the age of 0-35th day, were studied. The performance in the elevated plus maze (EPM) was assessed on the last day. ES increased time spent and also the entries into open arms of EPM, but malnourished non-stimulated rats visited more segments near the central area than the distant ones. Data suggests an anxiolytic effect of ES which is less evident in malnourished rats. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.