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Using the well-established prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) model, my dissertation has explored the underlying neurochemical mechanisms regulating social behavior. In this dissertation I begin with describing the prairie vole model and reviewing the underlying neurochemical mechanisms of pair bonding and interactions between drug abuse and social behavior. Chapter 2 indentifies a sub-nucleus in the forebrain, the anterior hypothalamus (AH) that is behaviorally- and site-specifically activated during aggression. Chapter 3 demonstrates AH-vasopressin (AVP)-receptor expression and -release patterns directly regulating aggression associated with pair bonding or drug experience. Chapter 4 reveals a specific neuroanatomical circuit connecting the AH with the lateral septum, nucleus accumbens, and medial amygdala to coordinate social recognition, motivation, and behavioral expression associated with pair bonding-induced selective aggression. Finally, chapter 5 summarizes the data collected in this dissertation and discusses potential implications of these data as well as future studies in the neurobiology of aggression.
Pharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Viral Vector, Vasopressin, Neurobiology, Hypothalamus, Social Behavior
Date of Defense
May 6, 2010.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Zuoxin Wang, Professor Directing Dissertation; Tom Keller, University Representative; Michael Meredith, Committee Member; Elaine Hull, Committee Member; Jon Maner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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