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Posted by star on 2018-11-30 10:51:51 Hits:150
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Oxytocin can be said to be a hormone of love, which allows couples to fall in love, forming a bond between mother and child, and helping teams work together. An new study from Rockefeller University reveals the mechanism by which oxytocin affects sexual interaction, the key of which is a newly discovered class of brain cells. The paper was published in Cell magazine on October 9 by Professor Nathaniel Heintz.
Miho Nakajima, the lead author of the study, first used TRAP (translating ribosome affinity purification) to analyze gene expression in intermediate neurons, which are responsible for transmitting information to other neurons. He found that some neurons in the cerebral cortex have an interesting protein, a receptor that responds to oxytocin. These neurons were subsequently named OxtrIN (oxytocin receptor interneuron).
What are these dispersed intermediate neurons doing in response to oxytocin? Nakajima said. Oxytocin is closely related to female social behavior, so we decided to experiment with female animals.
To clarify the effect of OxtrIN activation by oxytocin, researchers conducted two experiments. They silenced these intermediate neurons in some female mice and blocked the receptors ability to detect oxytocin in other female mice. Researchers then tested the mices social behavior to choose whether to live with male mice or with a still life (Lego building blocks). Generally speaking, female mice were not interested in Lego building blocks. But Nakajima got confusing results. OxtrIN silent mice sometimes showed unusually high interest in Lego, and sometimes they reacted normally.
Nakajima suspected that these differences were related to the reproductive cycle of female mice, so he recorded whether the female mice were in estrus in the next round of experiments. Research shows that oestrus is the key. Once the oxytocin receptors of estrous female mice are inactivated, they are not interested in males, mainly revolving around Lego. If the female mice were not in estrus, or if the male mice in the experiment were replaced by the female, the inactivation of the oxytocin receptor would have no effect on behavior. Nakajima did the same behavioral tests on male mice and found that they were not affected.
Without oxytocin, OxtrIN just stayed there quietly, said Andreas Rlich, who was involved in the study. When oxytocin is present, these neurons are activated more frequently in female mice than in male mice, which may be the reason for the different results of gender behavior tests.
We think that oxytocin stimulates estrous mice to be interested in contact with the opposite sex, Nakajima said. At different stages of the perigenital body of female mice, there are differences in the social decisions of the brain.
Oxytocin responses in many parts of the brain have been studied, and it is clear that this hormone can affect animal behavior in different ways, Heintz said. Broadly speaking, this study helps to explain why both environmental and physiological conditions affect social behavior.
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