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Neuroendocrine regulation on the neural networks for adaptive social behavior in postpartum females

Grant number: 18/15250-6
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2018 - November 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology - Anatomy
Convênio/Acordo: University of Tsukuba
Mobility Program: SPRINT - Projetos de pesquisa - Mobilidade
Principal Investigator:Jackson Cioni Bittencourt
Grantee:Jackson Cioni Bittencourt
Principal researcher abroad: Sonoko Ogawa
Institution abroad: University of Tsukuba, Japan
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/02224-1 - The existence of neurogenesis during the lactation period, AP.TEM


Dr. Jackson C. Bittencourt at University of São Paulo and Dr. Sonoko Ogawa at University of Tsukuba will propose to establish a new international collaborative research project. Both of us have been working in the field behavioral neuroscience to understand neuroendocrine basis of maternal behavior. We are planning to combine our expertise in neuroanatomical and behavioral analysis in rat models provided by the Bittencourt group and that behavioral analysis mice with molecular manipulation provided by Ogawa group. During one-year funding period, member of each group will visit the laboratory of the other side and discuss details of collaborative research plan and future student exchange plan. We believe this will be a great kick-off for larger-scale and continuous research collaboration not only for the PIs but also young scientists who are part of the current proposal.The hypothalamic neuropeptide melanin-concentrating hormone [MCH] is a modulator in several functions, among them the reproductive function. Therefore, the MCH is a modulator in the release of pre-ovulatory hormones, and the sexual hormones [estradiol and progesterone] can modulate his expression. Beyond that, it is proposed that MCH has a role in the reproductive function for being a modulator in maternal behavior since during lactation, the MCH shows novel expression sites, among them, the medial preoptic area [MPOA], the key site regulating the maternal behavior. The protocol where nulliparous submitted by young pups fails to induce the MCH expression into MPOA so led us to question a hormonal regulation over these neurons during lactation. On the other hand, beyond the central nervous system, peripheral tissue also produces MCH, but it still unknown whether this tissue secreted MCH into circulating. Moreover, it must be investigated whether the MCH produced into hypothalamus is secreted into circulation, this way acting like a neurohormone. In this present study, we aim to investigate these questions: a) Whether is an alteration on serum levels of MCH after removing the ovarian hormones; b) Whether the hypothalamus secrete MCH in the circulating via hypophyses; c) Whether the remove of the ovarian hormones post-partum can change the expression of MCH into MPOA of lactating dams. (AU)

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