Maternal care during the first week postpartum has long-term consequences for offspring development in rodents. However, mother-infant interactions continue well beyond this period, with several physiological and behavioral changes occurring between days 18 and 28 PN. In the present study, we investigate the long-term effects on offspring behavior of being weaned at day 21 PN versus day 28 PN. We found that male and female offspring engage in higher initial levels of social interaction if weaned at day 28 PN, as well as sexually dimorphic changes in exploratory behavior. Females who were themselves weaned earlier also appeared to wean their own pups earlier. Sex-specific effects of weaning age were found on levels of oxytocin and vasopressin V1a receptor density in the hypothalamus, central nucleus of the amygdala and nucleus accumbens. These results indicate that altering weaning age in mice may be a useful model for investigating the development of sexual dimorphism in neurobiology and behavior.
© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel
- Maternal care
- Social behavior
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Dr. Frances A. Champagne
Department of Psychology, Columbia University
Room 406 Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027 (USA)
Tel. +1 212 854 2589, Fax +1 212 854 3609, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: December 15, 2008
Accepted: December 29, 2009
Published online: June 17, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 14
Number of Figures : 5, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 70
Vol. 31, No. 4, Year 2009 (Cover Date: June 2009)
Journal Editor: Levison S.W. (Newark, N.J.)
ISSN: 0378-5866 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9859 (Online)
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