Title

Bidirectional Control of Infant Rat Social Behavior via Dopaminergic Innervation of the Basolateral Amygdala

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-15-2021

Description

Social interaction deficits seen in psychiatric disorders emerge in early-life and are most closely linked to aberrant neural circuit function. Due to technical limitations, we have limited understanding of how typical versus pathological social behavior circuits develop. Using a suite of invasive procedures in awake, behaving infant rats, including optogenetics, microdialysis, and microinfusions, we dissected the circuits controlling the gradual increase in social behavior deficits following two complementary procedures-naturalistic harsh maternal care and repeated shock alone or with an anesthetized mother. Whether the mother was the source of the adversity (naturalistic Scarcity-Adversity) or merely present during the adversity (repeated shock with mom), both conditions elevated basolateral amygdala (BLA) dopamine, which was necessary and sufficient in initiating social behavior pathology. This did not occur when pups experienced adversity alone. These data highlight the unique impact of social adversity as causal in producing mesolimbic dopamine circuit dysfunction and aberrant social behavior.

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