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Blocking Oxytocin Receptors in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus of Syrian Hamsters

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dc.contributor.advisor Been, Laura Pisch, Natalie 2019-08-29T19:31:31Z 2019-08-29T19:31:31Z 2019
dc.description.abstract Almost 20% of women suffer from peripartum depression and/or anxiety which has negative ramifications for the health of both mother and baby. Despite the gravity of this public health problem, effective treatments are lacking due to an incomplete understanding of the complex neurobiological mechanisms of these conditions. Previous research suggests that the intense fluctuations of ovarian hormones that occur in pregnancy and postpartum may render women particularly vulnerable to mood disturbances in this period. In particular, changes in oxytocin signaling in the brain, mediated by estrogen and progesterone, may contribute to the etiology of peripartum depression and anxiety. Previous work from our lab found increases in oxytocin-producing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus and oxytocin receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), as well as increased anxiety-like behavior following a hormone simulated pregnancy. Given these results, this experiment sought to examine the effects of blocking oxytocin receptors in the DRN on anxiety behavior following a hormone-simulated pregnancy. Results from this pilot study suggest that blocking oxytocin signaling with an oxytocin receptor antagonist in the DRN during the postpartum period may impact anxiety-like behavior in hamsters. Further research is necessary to confirm the effects of OTA in the DRN during the peripartum period, but these results suggest that oxytocin signaling could be an important mechanism in peripartum anxiety and a potential route for the development of treatments.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Psychology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Postpartum depression
dc.title Blocking Oxytocin Receptors in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus of Syrian Hamsters
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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