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Nat Neurosci. 2013 Jul;16(7):919-24. doi: 10.1038/nn.3420. Epub 2013 Jun 2.

Histone deacetylase inhibitors facilitate partner preference formation in female prairie voles.

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1
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

Abstract

In the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), mating induces enduring pair-bonds that are initiated by partner preference formation and regulated by a variety of neurotransmitters, including oxytocin, vasopressin and dopamine. We examined potential epigenetic mechanisms mediating pair-bond regulation and found that the histone deacetylase inhibitors sodium butyrate and trichostatin A (TSA) facilitated partner preference formation in female prairie voles in the absence of mating. This was associated with a specific upregulation of oxytocin receptor (OTR, oxtr) and vasopressin V1a receptor (V1aR, avpr1a) in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), through an increase in histone acetylation at their respective promoters. Furthermore, TSA-facilitated partner preference was prevented by OTR or V1aR blockade in the NAcc. Notably, mating-induced partner preference triggered the same epigenetic regulation of oxtr and avpr1a gene promoters as TSA. These observations indicate that TSA and mating facilitate partner preference through epigenetic events, providing, to the best of our knowledge, the first direct evidence for epigenetic regulation of pair-bonding.

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PMID:
23727821
PMCID:
PMC3703824
DOI:
10.1038/nn.3420
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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