Oxytocin activity in the paraventricular and supramammillary nuclei of the hypothalamus is essential for social recognition memory in rats

Keerthi Thirtamara Rajamani, Marie Barbier, Arthur Lefevre, Kristi Niblo, Nicholas Cordero, Shai Netser, Valery Grinevich, Shlomo Wagner, Hala Harony-Nicolas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Oxytocin plays an important role in modulating social recognition memory. However, the direct implication of oxytocin neurons of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH) and their downstream hypothalamic targets in regulating short- and long-term forms of social recognition memory has not been fully investigated. In this study, we employed a chemogenetic approach to target the activity of PVH oxytocin neurons in male rats and found that specific silencing of this neuronal population led to an impairment in short- and long-term social recognition memory. We combined viral-mediated fluorescent labeling of oxytocin neurons with immunohistochemical techniques and identified the supramammillary nucleus (SuM) of the hypothalamus as a target of PVH oxytocinergic axonal projections in rats. We used multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridization to label oxytocin receptors in the SuM and determined that they are predominantly expressed in glutamatergic neurons, including those that project to the CA2 region of the hippocampus. Finally, we used a highly selective oxytocin receptor antagonist in the SuM to examine the involvement of oxytocin signaling in modulating short- and long-term social recognition memory and found that it is necessary for the formation of both. This study discovered a previously undescribed role for the SuM in regulating social recognition memory via oxytocin signaling and reinforced the specific role of PVH oxytocin neurons in regulating this form of memory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Early online date5 Dec 2023
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology

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