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We report that variations in maternal care in the rat promote hippocampal synaptogenesis and spatial learning and memory through systems known to mediate experience-dependent neural development. Thus, the offspring of mothers that show high levels of pup licking and grooming and arched-back nursing showed increased expression of NMDA receptor subunit and(More)
The adrenal glucocorticoids and catecholamines comprise a frontline of defense for mammalian species under conditions which threaten homeostasis (conditions commonly referred to as stress). Glucocorticoids represent the end product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and along with the catecholamines serve to mobilize the production and(More)
Lactating rats exhibit stable individual differences in pup licking/grooming (LG) over the first week postpartum. Such naturally occurring variations in maternal behavior are associated with differences in estrogen-inducible oxytocin receptors in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) of the hypothalamus. We compared levels of ER alpha and ER beta mRNA in the MPOA(More)
Parenting and the early environment influence the risk for various psychopathologies. Studies in the rat suggest that variations in maternal care stably influence DNA methylation, gene expression, and neural function in the offspring. Maternal care affects neural development, including the GABAergic system, the function of which is linked to the(More)
Variations in maternal behavior are associated with differences in estrogen receptor (ER)-␣ expression in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) and are transmitted across generations such that, as adults, the female offspring of mothers that exhibit increased pup licking/grooming (LG) over the first week postpartum (i.e. high LG mothers) show increased ER␣(More)
While many experiment with drugs, relatively few individuals develop a true addiction. We hypothesized that, in rats, such individual differences in the actions of addictive drugs might be determined by postnatal rearing conditions. To test this idea, we investigated whether stimulant- and stress-induced activation of nucleus accumbens dopamine transmission(More)
Environmental conditions in early life permanently alter the development of glucocorticoid receptor gene expression in the hippocampus and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal responses to acute or chronic stress. In part, these effects can involve an activation of ascending serotonergic pathways and subsequent changes in the expression of transcription factors(More)
Maternal care influences the development of stress reactivity in the offspring. These effects are accompanied by changes in corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) expression in brain regions that regulate responses to stress. However, such effects appear secondary to those involving systems that normally serve to inhibit CRF expression and release. Thus,(More)
Variations in parental care predict the age of puberty, sexual activity in adolescence and the age at first pregnancy in humans. These findings parallel descriptions of maternal effects on phenotypic variation in reproductive function in other species. Despite the prevalence of such reports, little is known about potential biological mechanisms and this(More)
Variations in maternal behavior among lactating rats associate with differences in estrogen-oxytocin interactions in the medial preoptic area (mPOA) and in dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens (nAcc). Thus, stable, individual differences in pup licking/grooming (LG) are abolished by oxytocin receptor blockade or treatments that eliminate differences in(More)