Oxytocin signal and social behaviour: comparison among adult and infant oxytocin, oxytocin receptor and CD38 gene knockout mice. Oxytocin signal and social behavior : Comparison among adult and infant oxytocin, oxytocin receptor and CD38 gene knockout mice

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Oxytocin in the hypothalamus is the biological basis of social recognition, trust, love and bonding. Previously, we showed that CD38, a proliferation marker in leukaemia cells, plays an important role in the hypothalamus in the process of oxytocin release in adult mice. Disruption of Cd38 (Cd38 (-/-)) elicited impairment of maternal behaviour and male social recognition in adult mice, similar to the behaviour observed in Oxt and oxytocin receptor (Oxtr) gene knockout (Oxt (-/-) and Oxtr (-/-), respectively) mice. Locomotor activity induced by separation from the dam was higher and the number of ultrasonic vocalisation calls was lower in Cd38 (-/-) than Cd38( +/+) pups. However, these behavioural changes were much milder than those observed in Oxt (-/-) and Oxtr (-/-) mice, indicating less impairment of social behaviour in Cd38 (-/-) pups. These phenotypes appeared to be caused by the high plasma oxytocin levels during development from the neonatal period to 3-week-old juvenile mice. ADP-ribosyl cyclase activity was markedly lower in the knockout mice from birth, suggesting that weaning for mice is a critical time window of plasma oxytocin differentiation. Breastfeeding was an important exogenous source of plasma oxytocin regulation before weaning as a result of the presence of oxytocin in milk and the dam's mammary glands. The dissimilarity between Cd38 (-/-) infant behaviour and those of Oxt (-/-) or Oxtr (-/-) mice can be explained partly by this exogenous source of oxytocin. These results suggest that secretion of oxytocin into the brain in a CD38-dependent manner may play an important role in the development of social behaviour.


  • Journal of neuroendocrinology

    Journal of neuroendocrinology 22(5), 373-379, 2010-05-01


Cited by:  2


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