Date of Award

8-8-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Aras Petrulis

Abstract

With the rise in diagnoses of social deficit disorders comes an increased demand in elucidating the neural mechanisms that underlie social behavior. In the central nervous system arginine-vasopressin (AVP) has been shown to effect social communication, such as aggression, pair bonding, and maternal behavior, and many AVP cell bodies and fibers are distributed in a sexually dimorphic fashion. One such area is the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), with males having more AVP cells than females, thus making it a likely candidate in the control of male specific social behavior. We found that activation of this specific cell population using optogenetics in socially-naïve males does not induce a place preference, affect male territorial aggression, or investigation towards females.

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