Rapid Estrogenic Mediation of Oxytocin in The Regulation of Social Recognition in Female Mice

Paletta, Pietro
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University of Guelph

Both estrogens and oxytocin (OT) have been shown to affect social recognition. Estrogens have also been implicated in mediating OT and OT receptor (OTR) production. We therefore predicted that estrogens’ possible rapid mediation of OT would drive social recognition and that this happens through an interplay between the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), where OT is produced, and the medial amygdala, a region necessary for social recognition. First, we aimed to see if 17b-estradiol (E2) in the PVN could rapidly facilitate social recognition. Secondly, we aimed to confirm that OT in the medial amygdala facilitates social recognition via OTR. Lastly, we aimed to determine if the rapid facilitation of social recognition by E2 in the PVN is mediated by OT binding to OTR in the medial amygdala. We found that E2 in the PVN does rapidly facilitate social recognition; social recognition is blocked by and OTR antagonist (OTA) in the medial amygdala; and the effect of E2 on social recognition in the PVN is blocked by the OTA in the medial amygdala. These results suggest, estrogens’ rapid effects on social recognition occur through a modulation of OT.

Estrogens, Oxytocin, Social Recognition