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Mammalian social relationships, such as mother-offspring attachments and pair bonds, can directly affect reproductive output. However, conspecifics approach one another in a comparatively broad range of contexts, so conceivably there are motivations for social congregation other than those underlying reproduction, parental care or territoriality. Here, we(More)
Empathy, as originally defined, refers to an emotional experience that is shared among individuals. When discomfort or alarm is detected in another, a variety of behavioral responses can follow, including greater levels of nurturing, consolation or increased vigilance towards a threat. Moreover, changes in systemic physiology often accompany the recognition(More)
The Ah receptor (AHR) mediates the metabolic adaptation to a number of planar aromatic chemicals. Essential steps in this adaptive mechanism include AHR binding of ligand in the cytosol, translocation of the receptor to the nucleus, dimerization with the Ah receptor nuclear translocator, and binding of this heterodimeric transcription factor to(More)
A physiological examination of mice harboring a null allele at the aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) locus revealed that the encoded aryl hydrocarbon receptor plays a role in the resolution of fetal vascular structures during development. Although the aryl hydrocarbon receptor is more commonly studied for its role in regulating xenobiotic metabolism and dioxin(More)
Social approach is crucial for establishing relationships among individuals. In rodents, social approach has been studied primarily within the context of behavioral phenomena related to sexual reproduction, such as mating, territory defense and parental care. However, many forms of social interaction occur before the onset of reproductive maturity, which(More)
Fragile X syndrome (FX), the most common heritable cause of mental retardation and autism, is a developmental disorder characterized by physical, cognitive, and behavioral deficits. FX results from a trinucleotide expansion mutation in the fmr1 gene that reduces levels of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). Although research efforts have focused on(More)
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is known for its role in the adaptive and toxic responses to a large number of environmental contaminants, as well as its role in hepatovascular development. The classical AHR pathway involves ligand binding, nuclear translocation, heterodimerization with the AHR nuclear translocator (ARNT), and binding of the heterodimer(More)
Mental illness can include impaired abilities to express emotions or respond to the emotions of others. Speech provides a mechanism for expressing emotions, by both what words are spoken and by the melody or intonation of speech (prosody). Through the perception of variations in prosody, an individual can detect changes in another's emotional state.(More)
Noninvasive functional imaging holds great promise for serving as a translational bridge between human and animal models of various neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, despite a depth of knowledge of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of atypical processes in mouse models, little is known about the large-scale functional architecture(More)
Two independent laboratories have generated Ahr "null" or "knockout" mice that share some common characteristics but also have distinct phenotypes. In this Commentary, we will discuss our view of the candidate variables that might account for these differences. More importantly, we hope that this discussion can identify important parameters to be assessed(More)