Navigation Links
Maternal care influences brain chemistry into adulthood

This press release is available in German.

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is the most abundant peptide hormone of the central nervous system. It is involved in various processes including stress management, the development of anxiety behaviour and body weight regulation. A collaborative research group including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg has demonstrated using mice that intensive maternal care during infancy promotes the effect of NPY in the brain. As a result of receiving such care, the animals were also less anxious in adulthood and weighed more than their counterparts who had received less affection. The research group was able to show that the effect is explained by the maternal care which stimulated the persistent formation of certain NPY receptors in the forebrain.

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) assumes several key roles in the brain's complex control circuits. The messenger substance not only influences body weight but also controls, among other things, the development of anxiety and stress responses. Hence NPY plays an important role in a series of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorders and anxiety disorders. NPY takes effect in the brain by binding to different docking sites on the neurons the NPY receptors. In this way, the hormone triggers signal cascades which control the different physical functions.

In a study on mice carried out in Rolf Sprengel from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and his colleagues in Italy have shown that the effect of NPY depends on how much care and attention the young animals experienced in the first three weeks of life. Mice who had received little care from their mothers were more anxious adults than their counterparts who had received intensive attention in their early weeks of life. They also remained slimmer throughout their lives. As the researchers discovered, the maternal behaviour influenced the formation of NPY1 receptors in the limbic system the area of the brain responsible for the processing of emotions.

"We were able to show that the expression of the NPY1 receptor in the young animals' limbic system is increased by good maternal care," explains Rolf Sprengel. "This ensures their healthy development in the long term." The positive effects of maternal care and attention were evidenced by the fact that the young animals gained weight faster and showed greater courage in behavioural experiments as adults than rodents which had experienced little warmth and security after birth.

For their study, the scientists had newborn mice, in which the NPY1 receptors had been switched off selectively, raised by mothers who differed in their behaviour towards the young animals. One group belonged to a mouse strain that was exemplary in caring for its young. These females spent a lot of time with their offspring, fed them frequently and, in addition to extensive grooming, also provided intensive physical contact. In young animals which grew up under such conditions, new NPY-1 receptors formed in the brain's limbic system. The second group of females were programmed to take far less care of the young. In this case, the number of NPY1 receptors in the young mice did not increase.

The neuroscientists' findings help us to reach a better understanding of how experience in the early life of an organism can affect it in later life. "The results of the study show how maternal care and attention have a sustained impact on the chemistry of the limbic system," says Rolf Sprengel. Maternal behaviour can influence the emotions and physical constitution into adulthood in this way.

Contact: Dr. Rolf Sprengel

Related biology news :

1. Maternal separation stresses the baby
2. March of Dimes honors researcher who linked maternal obesity to a babys long-term health
3. Maternal IV fluids linked to newborns weight loss
4. Harmful effects of hypothyroidism on maternal and fetal health drive new guidelines for managing thyroid disease in pregnancy
5. Researchers present new trends in HIV cure research, call for proactive outreach programs to prevent HIV transmission in injecting drug users, and demand increased commitments to improving maternal and child health
6. Maternal obesity puts infants at risk
7. Breastfeeding tied to stronger maternal response to babys cry
8. Scientists Without Borders awards $10,000 to solvers of maternal health and nutrition challenge
9. Maternal fructose intake impacts female and male fetuses differently
10. Tracking $40 billion in commitments for maternal and child health
11. Prolonged maternal separation increased breast cancer risk in neonatal mice
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Maternal care influences brain chemistry into adulthood
(Date:10/29/2015)... October 29, 2015 NXTD ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and ... Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... In the present market scenario, security is ... industry verticals such as banking, healthcare, defense, electronic gadgets, ... for secure & simplified access control and growing rate ... of bank accounts, misuse of users, , and so ... laptops, and smartphones are expected to provide potential opportunities ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics ... interface solutions, today announced that Google has adopted the ... of touch controller solutions to power its newest flagship ... 6P by Huawei. --> ... partners like Google to provide strategic collaboration in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... England , November 26, 2015 ... innovative medical device company specializing in imaging technologies, announced today ... European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 European Union ... carry out a large-scale clinical trial in breast cancer. ... (Logo: , --> --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in species of ... way for more effective treatment for one of the most ... --> --> Gum disease is ... yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated with ... by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition together ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing partnership between ... (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. , ... leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific ... contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of ... in lower margins but higher volume share for ... capacity and scale, however, margins in the CRO ... Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), finds ...
Breaking Biology Technology: