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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

3-bromo-7-nitroindazole, a neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, impairs maternal aggression and citrulline immunoreactivity in prairie voles.

Lactating female rodents are aggressive against intruders when they are rearing and protecting pups. In prairie voles, Microtus ochrogaster, females exhibit a dramatic increase in citrulline immunoreactivity (citrulline-IR) in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), but not in control regions of the brain, in association with maternal aggression. Citrulline is an indirect indicator of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and it is possible that NO release in the PVN is an important element in the control of maternal aggression in prairie voles. In this study, we sought to examine the role of NO in maternal aggression by selectively inhibiting neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) in lactating prairie voles. Intraperitoneal injections of the nNOS inhibitor, 3-bromo-7-nitroindazole (3-Br-7NI) (20 mg/kg), three time per day over 4 days resulted in significant impairment of the expression of maternal aggression in terms of the average time in aggressive encounters, the average number of attacks, and the average latency to first attack. These behavioral deficiencies were observable beginning two days following the onset of drug treatment. The average time spent sniffing the intruder was indistinguishable between the 3-Br-7NI- and oil-treated females. In 3-Br-7NI-treated relative to oil-treated females, the number of citrulline-positive cells was reduced by 70% in the PVN and by 50% in the anterior amygdaloid area, a control region of the brain. Taken together, these results indicate that 3-Br-7NI effectively inhibits maternal aggression and NO production in prairie voles and suggest that the central release of NO may play an important role in the production of maternal aggression in prairie voles.[1]


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