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Neuroscience. 2012 Oct 11;222:20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.07.025. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Modulation of parvalbumin interneuron number by developmentally transient neocortical vasopressin receptor 1a (V1aR).

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Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine & Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, United States.


Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) and the vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR) modulate social behavior and learning and memory in adult animals. Both functions depend upon the normal emergence of the balance of excitation and inhibition (E/I balance) in the neocortex. Here, we tested the hypothesis that V1aR signaling and E/I balance converge through the influence of the neuropeptide on interneuron number achieved in the neocortex. Postnatal mapping of forebrain V1aR binding in male and female mice revealed a transient expression of high levels of receptor in the neocortex and hippocampus in the second and third post-natal weeks. Receptor binding levels in these cortical structures fell dramatically in the adult, maintaining high levels of expression subcortically. Surprisingly, we observed sex differences in the number of calbindin interneurons, and a contribution of V1aR to the number of parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons in the adult mouse neocortex. These data suggest that individual differences in developmentally transient V1aR signaling and even sex may alter the development of E/I balance in the neocortex, with long-lasting influence on information processing.

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