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To investigate the neurobiological mechanisms underlying expression of maternal behavior, a rat model of brief separation between dam and the pups during postnatal days 1 to 22 was used to determine dams' levels of anxiety in the elevated plus maze (EPM) as well as the levels of receptors involved in the regulation of maternal behavior in the limbic system. The results showed that the experience of the daily repeated brief separation from the pups results in increased receptors for estrogens (ER, ER), oxytocin and decreased serotonin receptor (5-HT1AR) in dam’s brain. The authors believe that these neurochemical changes could underlie the observed increase in maternal behavior and the reduction of anxiety following the brief dam-pup separation. This work does provide strong correlative evidence that the reduced maternal anxiety is associated with their neurochemical profile in the limbic system involving changes in OTRs, ERs, and 5-HT1ARs; however, a causal relationship and inherent connection between different neurochemical systems remain to be presented.


1.Is the behavoral change in separated dams specific or non-specific?

2. Why wasn't there Standard Deviation or Error in the Fig 1?

3. What is the difference between estradiol-17 and estrogen, what is the rule to name organic chemical?

4. How can we identify if the upregulation of receptor expression reflects neurochemical influence on behaviors?

5. Why did the authors claim that the brief separation reduced anxiety? Did control group dams also experience anxiety?

6. Repeated brief separation is a stressful stimulus to dams and so does long-time separation to the dams. Why did the short-time separation reduce the anxiety whereas, long separation increase anxiety?


2018-4-27 Literature Analysis

Stamatakis, et al. Rat dams exposed repeatedly to a daily brief separation from the pups exhibit increased maternal behavior, decreased anxiety and altered levels of receptors for estrogens (ER, ER), oxytocin and serotonin (5-HT1A) in their brain, Psychoneuroendocrinology (2015) 52, 212-228, Presented by Dongyang Li, Haitao Liu, Yang liu and Dan Cui. Edited by Xiaoran Wang

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