3 years ago

Oxytocin receptor antagonist treatments alter levels of attachment to mothers and central dopamine activity in pre-weaning mandarin vole pups

Oxytocin (OT) is known to be important in mother-infant bonding. Although the relationship between OT and filial attachment behavior has been studied in a few mammalian species, the effects on infant social behavior have received little attention in monogamous species. The present study examined the effects of OT receptor antagonist (OTA) treatment on attachment behavior and central dopamine (DA) activity in male and female pre-weaning mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus). Our data showed that OTA treatments decreased the attachment behavior of pups to mothers, measured using preference tests at postnatal day 14, 16, 18 and 20. OTA treatments reduced serum OT concentration in pre-weaning pups and decreased tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) levels in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), indicating a decrease in central DA activity. In male and female pups, OTA reduced DA levels, DA 1-type receptor (D1R) and DA 2-type receptor (D2R) protein expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Our results indicate that OTA treatment inhibits the attachment of pre-weaning pups to mothers. This inhibition is possibly associated with central DA activity and levels of two types of dopamine receptor in the NAcc.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0306453017301117

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