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Effects of Chronic Central Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) on Maternal Behavior in Chronically Stressed Rat Dams
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 September 2012; in revised form: 30 October 2012 / Accepted: 31 October 2012 / Published: 7 November 2012
Abstract: Exposure of mothers to chronic stressors during pregnancy or the postpartum period often leads to the development of depression, anxiety, or other related mood disorders. The adverse effects of mood disorders are often mediated through maternal behavior and recent work has identified arginine vasopressin (AVP) as a key neuropeptide hormone in the expression of maternal behavior in both rats and humans. Using an established rodent model that elicits behavioral and physiological responses similar to human mood disorders, this study tested the effectiveness of chronic AVP infusion as a novel treatment for the adverse effects of exposure to chronic social stress during lactation in rats. During early (day 3) and mid (day 10) lactation, AVP treatment significantly decreased the latency to initiate nursing and time spent retrieving pups, and increased pup grooming and total maternal care (sum of pup grooming and nursing). AVP treatment was also effective in decreasing maternal aggression and the average duration of aggressive bouts on day 3 of lactation. Central AVP may be an effective target for the development of treatments for enhancing maternal behavior in individuals exposed to chronic social stress.
Keywords: maternal behavior; maternal care; maternal aggression; AVP; vasopressin; social stress; lactation
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Coverdill, A.J.; McCarthy, M.; Bridges, R.S.; Nephew, B.C. Effects of Chronic Central Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) on Maternal Behavior in Chronically Stressed Rat Dams. Brain Sci. 2012, 2, 589-604.
Coverdill AJ, McCarthy M, Bridges RS, Nephew BC. Effects of Chronic Central Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) on Maternal Behavior in Chronically Stressed Rat Dams. Brain Sciences. 2012; 2(4):589-604.
Coverdill, Alexander J.; McCarthy, Megan; Bridges, Robert S.; Nephew, Benjamin C. 2012. "Effects of Chronic Central Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) on Maternal Behavior in Chronically Stressed Rat Dams." Brain Sci. 2, no. 4: 589-604.