Environmental conditions are known to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of affective disorders. In this study, the effects of sertraline, a selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor, on anxiety- and depression-like behaviors were investigated in rats reared in different housing conditions. Wistar rats of both sexes were divided into three groups according to their rearing conditions (Enriched = EC, Isolated = IC and Standard = SC), after weaning at postnatal day 21. While animals in control conditions were housed as a group of 4 rats in regular size plexiglass cages, social isolation groups were housed individually in metal cages. Animals in enriched conditions were housed as a group of 12 rats in specially designed cages equipped with different stimulating objects. Six weeks later, activitymeter, elevated plus maze, rotarod, grip, forced swimming and sucrose preference tests were applied to all animals and all of the tests were repeated after i.p. injection of sertraline (10 mg/kg/day) for 7 days. Environmental enrichment reduced the stereotypic behavior, improved the motor coordination and facilitated the learning skills in animals. However, housing conditions affected depression-like parameters, but not anxiety-like parameters. Sertraline treatment reduced the depression-like effect in EC and SC, but not in IC. It decreased anxiety-like behavior in IC while increased in EC. Socially isolated animals preferentially consumed more sucrose and water than the other groups, and interestingly, these differences became more significant following sertraline treatment. These results show that the responses of animals to anti-depressive drugs could be differentially affected by the behavioral consequences of the diverse housing conditions. Thus, to improve the treatment of depression: behavioral consequences of diverse housing conditions should be taken into consideration. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.