Cellular mechanisms of social attachment
by
Young LJ, Lim MM, Gingrich B, Insel TR.
Center for Behavioral Neuroscience,
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, 30322
Horm Behav 2001 Sep;40(2):133-8


ABSTRACT

Pharmacological studies in prairie voles have suggested that the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin play important roles in behaviors associated with monogamy, including affiliation, paternal care, and pair bonding. Our laboratory has investigated the cellular and neuroendocrine mechanisms by which these peptides influence affiliative behavior and social attachment in prairie voles. Monogamous prairie voles have a higher density of oxytocin receptors in the nucleus accumbens than do nonmonogamous vole species; blockade of these receptors by site-specific injection of antagonist in the female prairie vole prevents partner preference formation. Prairie voles also have a higher density of vasopressin receptors in the ventral pallidal area, which is the major output of the nucleus accumbens, than montane voles. Both the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum are key relay nuclei in the brain circuits implicated in reward, such as the mesolimbic dopamine and opioid systems. Therefore, we hypothesize that oxytocin and vasopressin may be facilitating affiliation and social attachment in monogamous species by modulating these reward pathways.
Lactation
Monogamy
Pair-bonding
Cuddle hormone
The power of love
Oxytocin and voles
Oxytocin and drugs
Oxytocin and women
Oxytocin and estradiol
Hyper-reactive HPA rats
The evolution of emotion
Oxytocin and the randy rat
Oxytocin and social interaction
Oxytocin, addiction and the science of love


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