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Reinforcing effects of oxytocin in female rats: Intracerebroventricular self-administration
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences. Department of Cell and Neurobiology, University of Southern California.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) is involved in reproduction, promoting milk-ejection and uterine contractions. In addition, the hormone also stimulates social affiliation such as pair bonding and maternal attachment. In non-social settings, OT has anxiolytic, antidepressant and stress-reducing effects. Since affiliative behaviors are rewarding, this suggests that OT may enhance reward and reinforcement in a non-social context. If so, rats should be willing to work to obtain it. AIM: Test the hypothesis that a physiological dose of OT is reinforcing in a non-social setting. Intracerebroventricular (ICV) self-administration in female rats was used as the experimental model. METHODS: Ovariectomized female Long-Evans rats with estrogen replacement were implanted with an ICV cannula. Self-administration of oxytocin [1 ng in 1 ?l] or vehicle was conducted 4 h/day for 5 days/week, for a total of 30 days. RESULTS: Unlike vehicle controls, OT-treated rats showed a significant preference for the active lever. However, by RM-ANOVA there was no effect of OT, a significant effect of lever (active over inactive) and the OT x Lever interaction just missed significance. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that OT may be reinforcing. Future studies will test reinforcing effects of OT across a range of doses, and in the presence of a social partner. Reinforcement may be a mechanism by which OT promotes social behaviors, such as sexual and parental behavior, that are risky for the individual, but necessary for the species. The pro-social aspects of OT also have pharmaceutical implications, with the hormone being a possible treatment for social-deficit disorders such as autism. Similarly, OT may be effective against diminished emotional abilities, which are often observed in drug addicts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 22 p.
Keyword [en]
Oxytocin, self-administration, Reinforcement, Intracerebroventricular
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237767OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-237767DiVA: diva2:768834
Subject / course
Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Educational program
Master of Science Programme in Pharmacy
Available from: 2014-12-05 Created: 2014-12-05 Last updated: 2014-12-05Bibliographically approved

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