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Cocaine treatment alters oxytocin receptor binding but not mRNA production in postpartum rat dams.

Authors: Jarrett, TM  McMurray, MS  Walker, CH  Johns, JM 
Citation: Jarrett TM, etal., Neuropeptides. 2006 Jun;40(3):161-7. Epub 2006 May 4.
Pubmed: (View Article at PubMed) PMID:16677710
DOI: Full-text: DOI:10.1016/j.npep.2006.03.002

Gestational cocaine treatment in rat dams results in decreased oxytocin (OT) levels, up-regulated oxytocin receptor (OTR) binding density and decreased receptor affinity in the whole amygdala, all concomitant with a significant increase in maternal aggression on postpartum day six. Rat dams with no gestational drug treatment that received an infusion of an OT antagonist directly into the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) exhibited similarly high levels of maternal aggression towards intruders. Additionally, studies indicate that decreased OT release from the hypothalamic division of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) is coincident with heightened maternal aggression in rats. Thus, it appears that cocaine-induced alterations in OT system dynamics (levels, receptors, production, and/or release) may mediate heightened maternal aggression following cocaine treatment, but the exact mechanisms through which cocaine impacts the OT system have not yet been determined. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that two likely mechanisms of cocaine's action would be, increased OTR binding specifically in the CeA, and decreased OT mRNA production in the PVN. Autoradiography and in situ hybridization assays were performed on targeted nuclei in brain regions of rat dams on postpartum day six, following gestational treatment twice daily with cocaine (15 mg/kg) or normal saline (1 ml/kg). We now report cocaine-induced reductions in OTR binding density in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), but not the CeA. There was no significant change in OT mRNA production in the PVN following cocaine treatment.


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CRRD Object Information
CRRD ID: 2304172
Created: 2009-03-09
Species: All species
Last Modified: 2009-03-09
Status: ACTIVE


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