We tested the hypotheses that 1) epidural anesthesia at parturition would block both peripheral and central release of oxytocin and eliminate the development of maternal behavior in primiparous heifers and 2) estradiol priming, genital stimulation, and appropriate neonatal stimuli would induce maternal behavior in nulliparous heifers. In experiment 1, primiparous crossbred heifers (n = 13) with cannulas in the third cerebroventricle (IIIV) were assigned randomly to receive epidural treatments of saline (SAL; n = 6) or lidocaine HCl (EPI; n = 7) at the onset of labor induced between Days 270 and 280 of gestation. Epidural anesthesia blocked (P < 0.001) both central and peripheral release of oxytocin and markedly reduced (P < 0.05) or eliminated licking behaviors during a 3-h period following parturition as compared with SAL. Following approximately 1 wk of controlled daily suckling, during which calves were permitted access only to the inguinal region of their dams (three times daily for 10 min each time), a second maternal behavior test was performed. Although licking behavior remained markedly reduced (P < 0.001) in the EPI compared with the SAL groups, all heifers accepted their calf at the udder. In experiments 2-4, neither estradiol priming in ovariectomized heifers nor estradiol plus progesterone in intact heifers resulted in an induction of maternal behaviors following genital stimulation and presentation of a neonate wetted with amniotic fluid. Pelvic sensory deficits apparently block oxytocin release and disturb both short-latency and long-term maternal behaviors but do not result ultimately in rejection of the calf. Combinations of hormonal, sensory, olfactory, and visual cues observed previously to induce maternal behavior in nulliparous ewes do not appear adequate for induction of maternal behavior in nulliparous heifers.
"Oxytocin is released e.g. during teat stimulation while suckling as well as during vaginocervical stimulation as is the case when giving birth  . A relationship between oxytocin levels and maternal and/or bonding behavior has been detected in various species such as cattle , sheep , rats , and primates , including humans . We therefore hypothesized that saliva oxytocin levels either alone or in combination with parameters indicative of stress may serve as a biomarker for maternal behavior in cattle. "
"In experimental animals, it has been shown that oxytocin strongly influences maternal care, and the prosocial effects of oxytocin have been widely recognized (Francis et al., 2000; Williams et al., 2001; Caldwell and Young, 2006). However, the neuroendocrinological research of mother-infant relations in humans is now being progressively undertaken, although it remains unclear how oxytocin links mother-infant relationship and post-growth offspring. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mother-infant bonding is universal to all mammalian species. In this review, we describe the manner in which reciprocal communication between the mother and infant leads to mother-infant bonding in rodents. In rats and mice, mother-infant bond formation is reinforced by various social stimuli, such as tactile stimuli and ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) from the pups to the mother, and feeding and tactile stimulation from the mother to the pups. Some evidence suggests that mother and infant can develop a cross-modal sensory recognition of their counterpart during this bonding process. Neurochemically, oxytocin in the neural system plays a pivotal role in each side of the mother-infant bonding process, although the mechanisms underlying bond formation in the brains of infants has not yet been clarified. Impairment of mother-infant bonding, that is, deprivation of social stimuli from the mother, strongly influences offspring sociality, including maternal behavior toward their own offspring in their adulthood, implying a "non-genomic transmission of maternal environment," even in rodents. The comparative understanding of cognitive functions between mother and infants, and the biological mechanisms involved in mother-infant bonding may help us understand psychiatric disorders associated with mother-infant relationships.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2012; 6(31):31. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00031 · 2.99 Impact Factor
"Parturition induces physiological changes within several brain areas. OT concentrations are greatly increased in the cerebrospinal fluid of ewes within the first few minutes after expulsion of the neonate (Kendrick et al., 1986) but not in animals that have an epidural anesthesia (Levy et al., 1992; Williams et al., 2001). OT synthesis increases at parturition in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), and in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) of the hypothalamus, two main sources of OT projections in the brain (Broad et al., 1993b). "
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