Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hebrew University researchers show how motherhood behavior Is influenced by alterations in brain function

25.10.2011
Instinctive mothering behavior towards care of newborns has long been recognized as a phenomenon in humans and animals, but now research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shown that motherhood is associated with the acquisition of a host of new behaviors that are driven, at least in part, by alterations in brain function.

The research, by Dr. Adi Mizrahi of the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences and Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University, has just been published in the journal Neuron. It provides insight into how neural changes integrating odors and sounds lie behind a mouse mother’s ability to recognize and respond to distress calls from her pups.

“We know that distinct brain changes are linked with motherhood, but the impact of these changes on sensory processing and the emergence of maternal behaviors are largely unknown,” explains Mizrahi. “In mice, olfactory and auditory cues play a major role in the communication between a mother and her pups. Therefore, we hypothesized that there may be some interaction between olfactory and auditory processing so that pup odors might modulate the way pup calls are processed in the mother’s brain.”

Dr. Mizrahi and his post-doctoral colleague Dr. Lior Cohen examined whether the primary auditory cortex, a brain region that is involved in the recognition of sounds, might serve as an early processing region for integration of pup odors and pup calls. The primary auditory cortex is known as a site that undergoes functional changes in response to sensory input from the environment.

In their study, the researchers exposed regular mice, mice that had experienced interaction with their pups, and lactating mother mice to pup odors, and then monitored both spontaneous and sound-evoked activity of neurons in the auditory cortex. The odors triggered dramatic changes in auditory processing only in the females that had interacted with pups, while the lactating mothers were the most sensitive to pup sounds. The olfactory-auditory integration appeared in lactating mothers shortly after they had given birth and had a particularly strong effect on the detection of pup distress calls.

Taken together, the findings suggest that motherhood is associated with a previously un-described form of multisensory processing in the auditory cortex.

“We have shown that motherhood is associated with a rapid and robust appearance of olfactory-auditory integration in the primary auditory cortex occurring along with stimulus-specific adaptation to pup distress calls,” says Dr. Mizrahi. “These processes help to explain how changes in neocortical networks facilitate efficient detection of pups by their caring mothers.”

For further information: Jerry Barach, Dept. of Media Relations, the Hebrew University,
Tel: 02-588-2904.
Orit Sulitzeanu, Hebrew University spokesperson, Tel: 054-8820016

Jerry Barach | Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>