The same neural pathways favor maternal and paternal behaviors in flight

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Oxytocin neurons in the hypothalamus. Credit: He et al., JNeurosci 2021

Like female volvae, connections between hypothalamic oxytocin neurons and dopamine neurons in reward areas drive parental behavior in male volves, according to new research published in JNeurosci.

Motherhood receives most of the attention in the world of research, although in 5% of mammals (including humans), parents also attend. The ““Oxytocin plays a role in paternal care, but the exact neural pathways underlying the behavior were not known.

He and others. measured the neuronal activity of field parents as they interacted with their offspring. Oxytocin neurons that connect the hypothalamus with a reward zone triggered when parents cared for their offspring. Stimulation of oxytocin neurons increased paternal behaviors, while inhibiting them reduced paternal behaviors. Inhibition of the pathway resulted in a decrease in dopamine release in the reward zone when parents cared for their puppies.

These pathways are the same as those involved in promoting maternal behavior in female animals.

Understanding driving routes could lead to interventions for postpartum paternal depression or paternal abuse.


How parents relate to young children: brain scans relate oxytocin to paternal food


More information:
Oxytocin subsystems of the paraventricular nucleus favor active paternal behaviors in mandolins, JNeurosci (2021). DOI: 10.1523 / JNEUROSCI.2864-20.2021

Citation: The same neural pathways promote maternal and paternal behaviors in flight (2021, July 5) retrieved July 5, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-neural-pathways-maternal-paternal-behavior .html

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