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Neuron. 2005 Aug 18;47(4):503-13.

The V1a vasopressin receptor is necessary and sufficient for normal social recognition: a gene replacement study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA.


Vasopressin modulates many social and nonsocial behaviors, including emotionality. We have previously reported that male mice with a null mutation in the V1a receptor (V1aR) exhibit a profound impairment in social recognition and changes in anxiety-like behavior. Using site-specific injections of a V1aR-specific antagonist, we demonstrate that the lateral septum, but not the medial amygdala, is critical for social recognition. Reexpressing V1aR in the lateral septum of V1aR knockout mice (V1aRKO) using a viral vector resulted in a complete rescue of social recognition. Furthermore, overexpression of the V1aR in the lateral septum of wild-type (wt) mice resulted in a potentiation of social recognition behavior and a mild increase in anxiety-related behavior. These results demonstrate that the V1aR in the lateral septum plays a critical role in the neural processing of social stimuli required for complex social behavior.

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