Abstract # 13435 Event # 217:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2019 02:30 PM-02:45 PM: (Room 309) Oral Presentation


DIVERSITY IN NEURAL OXYTOCIN AND VASOPRESSIN RECEPTORS IN PRIMATES AND HUMANS: IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL COGNITION

S. M. Freeman1,2 and K. L. Bales2
1Utah State University, Department of Biology, Logan, UT 84322, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center, University of California Davis
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     The neuropeptides oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) influence complex social behaviors across many species, including humans (Homo sapiens) and nonhuman primates. Much of our understanding of the neural function of OT and AVP comes from rodent studies, and gaps remain in our knowledge of these systems in the brains of humans and nonhuman primates. We have been working to identify where the receptors for OT and AVP are expressed in the human brain and to compare those neural distributions to that of other primates. We have previously mapped these receptors in brain tissue from two species that differ in their social organization: the non-monogamous rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and the monogamous coppery titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus). In the current study, we characterized the distribution of OT and AVP receptors in more than 20 distinct regions throughout the human brain. Our descriptive results can now be compared to findings in rodents and nonhuman primates to infer the potential function of these receptor populations in humans. We have also performed studies in specimens from individuals who had autism spectrum disorder and provide evidence that OT receptor expression is dysregulated in specific subcortical regions of the autistic brain. We are now following up on these results and examining the effect of sex, age, and autism on OT and AVP receptors in several additional regions of the human brain.