Mother's touch supports pup's brain development

Mother's touch supports pup's brain development
A mother's presence may have immediate and long-term effects on her child's developing brain by modulating the serotonin system, suggests a study of rat moms and their pups published in eNeuro. The research provides a potential mechanism by which separating a child from his or her mother early in life could derail development. Credit: Courtiol et al., eNeuro (2018)

A mother's presence may have immediate and long-term effects on her child's developing brain by modulating the serotonin system, suggests a study of rat moms and their pups published in eNeuro. The research provides a potential mechanism by which separating a child from his or her mother early in life could derail development.

By wirelessly recording the activity of rat pups during interaction with their mother, Catia Teixeira and colleagues provide evidence for a direct connection between maternal care and the neurotransmitter serotonin—two factors known to be crucially involved in brain development. The researchers demonstrate that a mother's presence in the nest increases activity in the pups' , a slowly developing brain region rich in serotonin receptors. Blocking these receptors counteracted the effect, while treating isolated pups with the selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitor fluoxetine increased prefrontal cortex activity similarly to that observed in the mother's presence. These results implicate maternal contact and the system as important regulators of neuronal activity in the developing brain.


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More information: Emmanuelle Courtiol et al, Maternal Regulation of Pups' Cortical Activity: role of Serotonergic Signaling, eneuro (2018). DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0093-18.2018
Provided by Society for Neuroscience
Citation: Mother's touch supports pup's brain development (2018, July 23) retrieved 21 March 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-07-mother-pup-brain.html
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