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Dopaminergic control of reproductive behavior in females: modulation by peptides and by reproductive experience


Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and parturtion regulate the onset of maternal behavior at birth in mammals. Prior parity results in Reduced circulating Levels of Prolactin (PRL) in nonpregnant humans and rats. A similar shift also occurs during the first half of pregnancy in rats: diurnal and nocturnal PRL surges in multigravid rats are not as intense as they are in primigravid rats. However, before and after these surges, no differences in serum PRL are observed between primigravid and multigravid subjects. The present project will investigate the modulation of dopaminergic-related behaviors by the reproductive experience in female rats as well as the parity-induced neurochemical adjustments in vivo. Freely moving nonanesthetized female rats will be submitted to microdialysis. 2. Central Neuroendocrine processes in wich Cholecystokinin (CCK) interacts with endorphines modulating the expression of maternal behavior will also be studied using central injections of specific CCK agonists and antagonists. (AU)

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