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Behav Neurosci. 1994 Dec;108(6):1163-71.

Oxytocin activates the postpartum onset of rat maternal behavior in the ventral tegmental and medial preoptic areas.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599-7250.


Oxytocin binding (Bmax) was found to be higher in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the medial preoptic area (MPOA) at midparturition compared with Pregnancy Days 15-17 or Postpartum Days 5-7 in rat dams. Pup retrieval and assuming a nursing posture over pups were blocked in parturient dams by infusions of an oxytocin antagonist into the VTA or MPOA and by infusions of a vasopressin (V1) antagonist into the MPOA. These results implicate oxytocin in the VTA and MPOA and vasopressin in the MPOA, as well as a parturition-associated rise in oxytocin binding in these sites in the postpartum activation of maternal behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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