Brain Signaling Mechanisms Through Which Dopamine Stimulates Maternal Behavior in Rats
Zhang, Ke-You. “Brain Signaling Mechanisms Through Which Dopamine Stimulates Maternal Behavior in Rats”, Boston College, 2008. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/537.
This paper will review research from our laboratory dealing with the neural basis of maternal behavior in rats. Specifically, my work investigates hypothalamic interaction with the mesolimbic dopamine system and the regulation of maternal responsiveness. Recent evidence has shown that increased dopamine activity in the nucleus accumbens, a major terminus of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, results in a facilitation of maternal behavior in female rats who have been partially primed by hormones. However, the way in which dopamine and hormones act on these neural circuits is unclear. We hypothesize that one of these hormones, estradiol, acts on the MPOA and mesolimbic dopamine system through similar intracellular mechanisms as dopamine. My research goals are twofold: (1) to discern which G-protein coupled pathway dopamine utilizes to act in the nucleus accumbens and (2) to investigate whether estradiol is having rapid effects at the cell membrane and whether these effects are mediated by G-protein coupled receptors.