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Behavioral Neuroscience

Emily M Allen, Elizabeth F Hughes, Carl J Anderson, Nancy S Woehrle
Glutamate-modulating agents are of increasing interest in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Current pharmacotherapies for OCD target the serotonin and dopamine systems, and are limited in efficacy. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an over-the-counter amino acid supplement that inhibits glutamate neurotransmission and has been shown in preliminary studies to reduce symptoms in OCD and related compulsive disorders. Despite growing interest in NAC as a novel psychiatric medication, no studies currently exist examining the effects of NAC in animal models of compulsive disorders...
July 9, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Vienna K Behnke, Morgan E Stevenson, Rodney A Swain
Research has implicated the deep cerebellar nuclei in autism. This study questioned whether fastigial nuclei abnormalities account for some of the irregular social behaviors seen in autism. Bilateral cannulation surgery was performed on 13 rats. An ABABAB reversal design was implemented. All animals received a microinfusion of saline during the baseline (A) phases. The experimental animal was placed in an open field with an unfamiliar confederate animal, and social interactions between the two animals were measured for 10 min...
July 9, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Laura M Grant, Kelsey J Barth, Cagla Muslu, Cynthia A Kelm-Nelson, Vaishali P Bakshi, Michelle R Ciucci
Rats produce high rates of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) in social situations; these vocalizations are influenced by multiple neurotransmitter systems. Norepinephrine (NE) plays a significant role in vocalization biology; however, the contribution of NE to normal, prosocial vocal control has not been well established in the rat. To address this, we used NE adrenoceptor agonists (Cirazoline, Clonidine) and antagonists (Prozasin, Atipamezole, Propranolol) to quantify the contribution of specific alpha-1, alpha-2, and beta NE receptors to USV parameters in male Long Evans rats during seminaturalistic calling...
July 9, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Dana Zeid, Thomas J Gould
Preadolescent mice have been shown to be differentially susceptible to the effects of both acute and chronic nicotine exposure on contextual fear learning relative to adults. For this study, we tested the effects of chronic nicotine exposure in preadolescence on adulthood extinction and spontaneous recovery of fear memory in a model in which contextual fear acquisition occurred prior to nicotine exposure. Preadolescent (postnatal day 23) and adult (postnatal day 53) male C57BL/6J mice underwent contextual fear conditioning and were then exposed to chronic nicotine at 12...
July 5, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Kathryn M Emmer, Kathryn L G Russart, William H Walker, Randy J Nelson, A Courtney DeVries
Light has substantial influences on the physiology and behavior of most laboratory animals. As such, lighting conditions within animal rooms are potentially significant and often underappreciated variables within experiments. Disruption of the light/dark cycle, primarily by exposing animals to light at night (LAN), disturbs biological rhythms and has widespread physiological consequences because of mechanisms such as melatonin suppression, sympathetic stimulation, and altered circadian clock gene expression...
June 28, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Patrick Anselme, Tim Dreher, Onur Güntürkün
Many studies show that animals may prefer earned over free food-a phenomenon referred to as "contrafreeloading." In rodents, dopamine-which is involved in incentive motivation and effort-facilitates the occurrence of such a preference. Here, we investigated the behavioral effects of pramipexole (PPX), a dopamine D2/3 receptor agonist, on contrafreeloading in pigeons. In Experiment 1, 2 groups of pigeons (PPX and SAL) were simultaneously exposed to a bowl that contained grains only (easy food option) and a bowl that contained grains covered with sawdust (harder food option) for 6 sessions...
June 28, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Eliza Bliss-Moreau, Mark G Baxter
Human affective life changes with age, becoming more positive and less negative in later life. This change occurs even as aging leads to declines in health and cognitive outcomes. Despite these well-documented effects in humans, the extent to which affective processes change as a result of aging in nonhuman animals, particularly nonhuman primates, is unclear. As a first step toward developing an animal model for human affective aging, we tested aged, surgically menopausal aged and middle-aged gonadally intact female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) on a classic index of affective reactivity in monkeys, the Human Intruder Task...
June 28, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Seth W Hurley, Heather A Arseth, Alan Kim Johnson
During extracellular dehydration, neural systems that sense deficits in body fluid homeostasis operate in tandem with those that mediate motivation and reward in order to promote ingestive behaviors that restore fluid balance. We hypothesized that hypothalamic orexin (Ox) neurons act as an interface to couple brain regions sensing and processing information about body fluid status with central nervous system motivation and reward systems. An initial set of anterograde and retrograde tracing experiments suggested that structures along the lamina terminalis (LT), a region of the forebrain that serves to monitor and integrate information reflecting body fluid balance, project to hypothalamic Ox neurons that, in turn, project to dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA)...
June 28, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Mark G Baxter, Anthony C Santistevan, Eliza Bliss-Moreau, John H Morrison
Some evidence suggests that there may be a limited "window of opportunity" for beneficial effects of hormone therapy after menopause in women. We tested whether the timing of cyclic estradiol (E2) treatment impacted its effect on cognitive function in aged, surgically menopausal (ovariectomized) rhesus monkeys. Monkeys were assigned to one of four treatment conditions after ovariectomy: either vehicle or E2 treatment for the duration of the protocol, vehicle for the first 2 years of the protocol followed by E2 for the remainder (delayed treatment), or E2 for the first 11 months of the protocol followed by vehicle for the remainder (withdrawn treatment)...
June 28, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Jose Fernandez-Rey, Daniel Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Jaime Redondo
Standard extinction procedures seem to imply an inhibition of the fear response, but not a modification of the original fear-memory trace, which remains intact (Bouton, 2002, 2004). Typically, the behavioral procedure used to modify this trace is the so-called postretrieval extinction, consisting of fear-memory reactivation followed by extinction applied within the reconsolidation window. However, the application of this technique yields mixed results, probably due to a series of boundary conditions that limit the effectiveness of postretrieval-extinction effects...
June 7, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Kevin A Corcoran, Naoki Yamawaki, Katherine Leaderbrand, Jelena Radulovic
This work summarizes evidence for the role of RSC in processing fear-inducing context memories. Specifically, we discuss molecular, cellular, and network mechanisms by which RSC might contribute the processing of contextual fear memories. We focus on glutamatergic and cholinergic mechanisms underlying encoding, retrieval, and extinction of context-dependent fear. RSC mechanisms underlying retrieval of recently and remotely acquired memories are compared to memory mechanisms of anterior cortices. Due to the strong connectivity between hippocampus and RSC, we also compare the extent to which their mechanisms of encoding, retrieval, and extinction show overlap...
June 7, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Matthew Y Jiang, Nicole E DeAngeli, David J Bucci, Travis P Todd
Although the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is critically involved in spatial learning and memory, it appears to have more selective contributions to learning and memory for discrete cues. For example, damage to the RSC does not impair Pavlovian delay fear conditioning to a discrete auditory cue (e.g., tone), when RSC manipulation occurs just prior to, or shortly after, conditioning. In contrast, when lesions of the RSC occur following a substantial retention interval (e.g., 28 days), the RSC is necessary for retrieval of fear to the tone...
June 4, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Emily L Rounds, Andrew S Alexander, Douglas A Nitz, Jeffrey L Krichmar
Retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is an association cortex supporting spatial navigation and memory. However, critical issues remain concerning the forms by which its ensemble spiking patterns register spatial relationships that are difficult for experimental techniques to fully address. We therefore applied an evolutionary algorithmic optimization technique to create spiking neural network models that matched electrophysiologically observed spiking dynamics in rat RSC neuronal ensembles. Virtual experiments conducted on the evolved networks revealed a mixed selectivity coding capability that was not built into the optimization method, but instead emerged as a consequence of replicating biological firing patterns...
June 4, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Travis P Todd, Matthew Y Jiang, Nicole E DeAngeli, David J Bucci
Although the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is necessary for the retrieval of remotely acquired fear to a discrete auditory cue, it is not necessary for the retrieval of recently acquired cued-fear memories. Thus, the RSC's role in memory retrieval for discrete cues is time-dependent. The purpose of the current experiment was to identify the larger cortical circuit involved in the retrieval of remotely-acquired auditory fear memories. One candidate circuit involves the RSC and secondary auditory cortex; the secondary auditory cortex is also necessary for the retrieval of remotely acquired auditory fear memories (Sacco & Sacchetti, 2010), and sends direct projections to the RSC...
June 4, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Gabriela Manzano-Nieves, Mizan Gaillard, Meghan Gallo, Kevin G Bath
Early life stress (ELS) is associated with altered processing of threat signals, and increased lifetime risk of anxiety and affective pathology, disorders that disproportionately affect females. We tested the impact of a limited bedding paradigm of ELS (from P4-11) on contextual threat learning, context memory, footshock sensitivity, and anxietylike behavior, in adult male and female mice. To examine contextual threat learning, mice conditioned by context/footshock association were tested 24 hr later for the context memory...
May 21, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Michael Dimitriou
It is generally believed that task-dependent control of body configuration ("posture") is achieved by adjusting voluntary motor activity and transcortical "long-latency" reflexes. Spinal monosynaptic circuits are thought not to be engaged in such task-level control. Similarly, being in a state of motor learning has been strongly associated only with an upregulation of feedback responses at transcortical latencies and beyond. In two separate experiments, the current study examined the task-dependent modulation of stretch reflexes by perturbing the hand of human subjects while they were waiting for a "Go" signal to move at the different stages of a classic kinematic learning task (visuomotor rotation)...
June 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Erik Bijleveld, Melanie Knufinke
Secreted in the evening and the night, melatonin suppresses activity of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, a brain pathway involved in reward processing. However, exposure to bright light diminishes-or even prevents-melatonin secretion. Thus, we hypothesized that reward processing, in the evening, is more pronounced in bright light (vs. dim light). Healthy human participants carried out three tasks that tapped into various aspects of reward processing (effort expenditure for rewards task [EEfRT]; two-armed bandit task [2ABT]; balloon analogue risk task [BART)...
June 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Rachel A Walker, Christopher Andreansky, Madelyn H Ray, Michael A McDannald
Childhood adversity is associated with exaggerated threat processing and earlier alcohol use initiation. Conclusive links remain elusive, as childhood adversity typically co-occurs with detrimental socioeconomic factors, and its impact is likely moderated by biological sex. To unravel the complex relationships among childhood adversity, sex, threat estimation, and alcohol use initiation, we exposed female and male Long-Evans rats to early adolescent adversity (EAA). In adulthood, >50 days following the last adverse experience, threat estimation was assessed using a novel fear discrimination procedure in which cues predict a unique probability of footshock: danger (p = 1...
June 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Amy M Smith, F Caroline Davis, Ayanna K Thomas
In a recent study, having participants make three retrieval attempts (i.e., retrieval practice) when learning information strengthened memory against the detrimental effects of psychological stress. We aimed to determine whether learning to criterion, in which only one successful retrieval attempt is made, would similarly buffer memory against stress, or whether multiple retrieval attempts are necessary to achieve that effect. In Experiment 1, participants learned to criterion and then engaged in additional restudying (CLS ) or retrieval practice (CLR )...
June 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Kathryn Wallin-Miller, Grace Li, Diana Kelishani, Ruth I Wood
Anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse is implicated in maladaptive decision making such as increased risk taking and problem gambling. Endogenous testosterone correlates with economic risk taking in both the stock market (Coates & Herbert, 2008) and in the laboratory, as measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (Stanton, Liening, & Schultheiss, 2011). Additionally, AAS use has been associated with problem gambling behavior in adolescents (Proimos, DuRant, Pierce, & Goodman, 1998). Thus, AAS may impair economic decision making...
June 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
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