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J Neurosci. 2016 Feb 24;36(8):2517-35. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2409-15.2016.

A Distributed Network for Social Cognition Enriched for Oxytocin Receptors.

Author information

1
Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, Neuroscience Institute, Department of Otolaryngology, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology.
2
Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, Department of Cell Biology, and Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016.
3
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, and.
4
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003.
5
Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, Neuroscience Institute, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Cell Biology, and Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003 moses.chao@med.nyu.edu robert.froemke@med.nyu.edu.
6
Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, Neuroscience Institute, Department of Otolaryngology, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003 moses.chao@med.nyu.edu robert.froemke@med.nyu.edu.

Abstract

Oxytocin is a neuropeptide important for social behaviors such as maternal care and parent-infant bonding. It is believed that oxytocin receptor signaling in the brain is critical for these behaviors, but it is unknown precisely when and where oxytocin receptors are expressed or which neural circuits are directly sensitive to oxytocin. To overcome this challenge, we generated specific antibodies to the mouse oxytocin receptor and examined receptor expression throughout the brain. We identified a distributed network of female mouse brain regions for maternal behaviors that are especially enriched for oxytocin receptors, including the piriform cortex, the left auditory cortex, and CA2 of the hippocampus. Electron microscopic analysis of the cerebral cortex revealed that oxytocin receptors were mainly expressed at synapses, as well as on axons and glial processes. Functionally, oxytocin transiently reduced synaptic inhibition in multiple brain regions and enabled long-term synaptic plasticity in the auditory cortex. Thus modulation of inhibition may be a general mechanism by which oxytocin can act throughout the brain to regulate parental behaviors and social cognition.

KEYWORDS:

antibody; auditory cortex; development; inhibition; oxytocin; synaptic plasticity

PMID:
26911697
PMCID:
PMC4764667
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2409-15.2016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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