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      Oxytocin reverses ethanol consumption and neuroinflammation induced by social defeat in male mice

      , , ,
      Hormones and Behavior
      Elsevier BV

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          Oxytocin modulates neural circuitry for social cognition and fear in humans.

          In non-human mammals, the neuropeptide oxytocin is a key mediator of complex emotional and social behaviors, including attachment, social recognition, and aggression. Oxytocin reduces anxiety and impacts on fear conditioning and extinction. Recently, oxytocin administration in humans was shown to increase trust, suggesting involvement of the amygdala, a central component of the neurocircuitry of fear and social cognition that has been linked to trust and highly expresses oxytocin receptors in many mammals. However, no human data on the effects of this peptide on brain function were available. Here, we show that human amygdala function is strongly modulated by oxytocin. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to image amygdala activation by fear-inducing visual stimuli in 15 healthy males after double-blind crossover intranasal application of placebo or oxytocin. Compared with placebo, oxytocin potently reduced activation of the amygdala and reduced coupling of the amygdala to brainstem regions implicated in autonomic and behavioral manifestations of fear. Our results indicate a neural mechanism for the effects of oxytocin in social cognition in the human brain and provide a methodology and rationale for exploring therapeutic strategies in disorders in which abnormal amygdala function has been implicated, such as social phobia or autism.
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            Oxytocin Enables Maternal Behavior by Balancing Cortical Inhibition

            Oxytocin is important for social interactions and maternal behavior. However, little is known about when, where, and how oxytocin modulates neural circuits to improve social cognition. Here we show how oxytocin enables pup retrieval behavior in female mice by enhancing auditory cortical pup call responses. Retrieval behavior required left but not right auditory cortex, was accelerated by oxytocin in left auditory cortex, and oxytocin receptors were preferentially expressed in left auditory cortex. Neural responses to pup calls were lateralized, with co-tuned and temporally-precise excitatory and inhibitory responses in left cortex of maternal but not pup-naive adults. Finally, pairing calls with oxytocin enhanced responses by balancing the magnitude and timing of inhibition with excitation. Our results describe fundamental synaptic mechanisms by which oxytocin increases the salience of acoustic social stimuli. Furthermore, oxytocin-induced plasticity provides a biological basis for lateralization of auditory cortical processing.
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              β-Adrenergic receptor antagonism prevents anxiety-like behavior and microglial reactivity induced by repeated social defeat.

              Psychosocial stress is associated with altered immune function and development of psychological disorders including anxiety and depression. Here we show that repeated social defeat in mice increased c-Fos staining in brain regions associated with fear and threat appraisal and promoted anxiety-like behavior in a β-adrenergic receptor-dependent manner. Repeated social defeat also significantly increased the number of CD11b(+)/CD45(high)/Ly6C(high) macrophages that trafficked to the brain. In addition, several inflammatory markers were increased on the surface of microglia (CD14, CD86, and TLR4) and macrophages (CD14 and CD86) after social defeat. Repeated social defeat also increased the presence of deramified microglia in the medial amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus. Moreover, mRNA analysis of microglia indicated that repeated social defeat increased levels of interleukin (IL)-1β and reduced levels of glucocorticoid responsive genes [glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) and FK506 binding protein-51 (FKBP51)]. The stress-dependent changes in microglia and macrophages were prevented by propranolol, a β-adrenergic receptor antagonist. Microglia isolated from socially defeated mice and cultured ex vivo produced markedly higher levels of IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide compared with microglia from control mice. Last, repeated social defeat increased c-Fos activation in IL-1 receptor type-1-deficient mice, but did not promote anxiety-like behavior or microglia activation in the absence of functional IL-1 receptor type-1. These findings indicate that repeated social defeat-induced anxiety-like behavior and enhanced reactivity of microglia was dependent on activation of β-adrenergic and IL-1 receptors.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Hormones and Behavior
                Hormones and Behavior
                Elsevier BV
                0018506X
                January 2021
                January 2021
                : 127
                : 104875
                Article
                10.1016/j.yhbeh.2020.104875
                33069753
                17bf1c30-5ce1-4efa-86ec-cc40ae053b51
                © 2021

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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