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      Invited review: Effects of group housing of dairy calves on behavior, cognition, performance, and health

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      Journal of Dairy Science
      American Dairy Science Association

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          Behavioural and neurochemical effects of post-weaning social isolation in rodents-relevance to developmental neuropsychiatric disorders.

          Exposing mammals to early-life adverse events, including maternal separation or social isolation, profoundly affects brain development and adult behaviour and may contribute to the occurrence of psychiatric disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia in genetically predisposed humans. The molecular mechanisms underlying these environmentally induced developmental adaptations are unclear and best evaluated in animal paradigms with translational salience. Rearing rat pups from weaning in isolation, to prevent social contact with conspecifics, produces reproducible, long-term changes including; neophobia, impaired sensorimotor gating, aggression, cognitive rigidity, reduced prefrontal cortical volume and decreased cortical and hippocampal synaptic plasticity. These alterations are associated with hyperfunction of mesolimbic dopaminergic systems, enhanced presynaptic dopamine (DA) and serotonergic (5-HT) function in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), hypofunction of mesocortical DA and attenuated 5-HT function in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. These behavioural, morphological and neurochemical abnormalities, as reviewed herein, strongly resemble core features of schizophrenia. Therefore unravelling the mechanisms that trigger these sequelae will improve our knowledge of the aetiology of neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders, enable identification of longitudinal biomarkers of dysfunction and permit predictive screening for novel compounds with potential antipsychotic efficacy.
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            Social isolation.

            Social species, by definition, form organizations that extend beyond the individual. These structures evolved hand in hand with behavioral, neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic mechanisms to support them because the consequent social behaviors helped these organisms survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long that they too reproduced. Social isolation represents a lens through which to investigate these behavioral, neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic mechanisms. Evidence from human and nonhuman animal studies indicates that isolation heightens sensitivity to social threats (predator evasion) and motivates the renewal of social connections. The effects of perceived isolation in humans share much in common with the effects of experimental manipulations of isolation in nonhuman social species: increased tonic sympathetic tonus and HPA activation; and decreased inflammatory control, immunity, sleep salubrity, and expression of genes regulating glucocorticoid responses. Together, these effects contribute to higher rates of morbidity and mortality in older adults. © 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.
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              Social Learning in Animals: Empirical Studies and Theoretical Models

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Dairy Science
                Journal of Dairy Science
                American Dairy Science Association
                00220302
                April 2016
                April 2016
                : 99
                : 4
                : 2453-2467
                Article
                10.3168/jds.2015-10144
                b42acfe5-92c2-4ffa-88e9-d21e50a5a94e
                © 2016

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


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