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Neuron. 2016 May 4;90(3):609-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.03.033. Epub 2016 Apr 21.

Oxytocin Enhances Social Recognition by Modulating Cortical Control of Early Olfactory Processing.

Author information

1
Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68159 Mannheim, Germany.
2
Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.
3
Schaller Research Group on Neuropeptides, German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
4
Section on Neural Gene Expression, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
5
Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68159 Mannheim, Germany; Schaller Research Group on Neuropeptides, German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
6
Sagol Department of Neurobiology, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel.
7
Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68159 Mannheim, Germany. Electronic address: wolfgang.kelsch@zi-mannheim.de.

Abstract

Oxytocin promotes social interactions and recognition of conspecifics that rely on olfaction in most species. The circuit mechanisms through which oxytocin modifies olfactory processing are incompletely understood. Here, we observed that optogenetically induced oxytocin release enhanced olfactory exploration and same-sex recognition of adult rats. Consistent with oxytocin's function in the anterior olfactory cortex, particularly in social cue processing, region-selective receptor deletion impaired social recognition but left odor discrimination and recognition intact outside a social context. Oxytocin transiently increased the drive of the anterior olfactory cortex projecting to olfactory bulb interneurons. Cortical top-down recruitment of interneurons dynamically enhanced the inhibitory input to olfactory bulb projection neurons and increased the signal-to-noise of their output. In summary, oxytocin generates states for optimized information extraction in an early cortical top-down network that is required for social interactions with potential implications for sensory processing deficits in autism spectrum disorders.

KEYWORDS:

anterior olfactory nucleus; centrifugal; granule cells; mitral cells

PMID:
27112498
PMCID:
PMC4860033
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2016.03.033
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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