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Nature. 2015 Apr 23;520(7548):499-504. doi: 10.1038/nature14402. Epub 2015 Apr 15.

Oxytocin enables maternal behaviour by balancing cortical inhibition.

Author information

1
1] Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [2] Neuroscience Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [3] Department of Otolaryngology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [4] Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.
2
1] Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [2] Neuroscience Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [3] Department of Otolaryngology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [4] Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [5] Department of Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [6] Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.
3
1] Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [2] Neuroscience Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [3] Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [4] Department of Cell Biology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [5] Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [6] Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.
4
1] Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [2] Neuroscience Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [3] Department of Otolaryngology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [4] Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA [5] Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.

Abstract

Oxytocin is important for social interactions and maternal behaviour. However, little is known about when, where and how oxytocin modulates neural circuits to improve social cognition. Here we show how oxytocin enables pup retrieval behaviour in female mice by enhancing auditory cortical pup call responses. Retrieval behaviour required the left but not right auditory cortex, was accelerated by oxytocin in the left auditory cortex, and oxytocin receptors were preferentially expressed in the left auditory cortex. Neural responses to pup calls were lateralized, with co-tuned and temporally precise excitatory and inhibitory responses in the left cortex of maternal but not pup-naive adults. Finally, pairing calls with oxytocin enhanced responses by balancing the magnitude and timing of inhibition with excitation. Our results describe fundamental synaptic mechanisms by which oxytocin increases the salience of acoustic social stimuli. Furthermore, oxytocin-induced plasticity provides a biological basis for lateralization of auditory cortical processing.

PMID:
25874674
PMCID:
PMC4409554
DOI:
10.1038/nature14402
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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