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Brain Struct Funct. 2014 May;219(3):1055-81. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0553-3. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Extending the socio-sexual brain: arginine-vasopressin immunoreactive circuits in the telencephalon of mice.

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Laboratori de Neuroanatomia Funcional Comparada, Depts. Biologia Funcional i Biologia Cel·lular, Fac. Ciències Biològiques, Univ. València, C. Dr. Moliner, 50, 46100, Burjassot, Spain.


Quantitative analysis of the immunoreactivity for arginine-vasopressin (AVP-ir) in the telencephalon of male (intact and castrated) and female CD1 mice allows us to precisely locate two sexually dimorphic (more abundant in intact than castrated males and females) AVP-ir cell groups in the posterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) and the amygdala. Chemoarchitecture (NADPH diaphorase) reveals that the intraamygdaloid AVP-ir cells are located in the intra-amygdaloid BST (BSTIA) rather than the medial amygdala (Me), as previously thought. Then, we have used for the first time tract tracing (combined with AVP immunofluorescence) and fiber-sparing lesions of the BST to analyze the projections of the telencephalic AVP-ir cell groups. The results demonstrate that the posterior BST originates the sexually dimorphic innervation of the lateral septum, the posterodorsal Me and a substance P-negative area in the medioventral striato-pallidum (mvStP).The BSTIA may also contribute to some of these terminal fields. Our material also reveals non-dimorphic AVP-ir processes in two locations of the amygdala. First, the ventral Me shows dendrite-like AVP-ir processes apparently belonging supraoptic neurons, whose possible functions are discussed. Second, the Ce shows sparse, thick AVP-ir axons with high individual variability in density and distribution, whose possible influence on stress coping in relation to the affiliative or agonistic behaviors mediated by the Me are discussed. Finally, we propose that the region of the mvStP showing sexually dimorphic AVP-ir innervation is part of the brain network for socio-sexual behavior, in which it would mediate motivational aspects of chemosensory-guided social interactions.

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