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Dominguez, Miguel; Aguilar-Roblero, Raul; Gonzalez-Mariscal, Gabriela (2017)

BILATERAL LESIONS OF THE PARAVENTRICULAR HYPOTHALAMIC NUCLEUS DISRUPT NURSING BEHAVIOR IN RABBITS

Eur. J. Neurosci. 46(5):2133-2140
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Doe rabbits nurse the litter only once a day, for around 3 min, with circa 24-h periodicity. To explore the participation of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in regulating this behavior, we lesioned it bilaterally with kainic acid on lactation day 7. Bilateral lesions, comprising less than 50% of the total PVN volume, abolished nursing behavior (4/8 does) or severely disrupted its normal periodicity (4/8 does). In the latter case, duration of nursing bouts was normal. Body weight, food and water intake were not significantly affected by bilateral PVN lesions. Unilateral lesions of the PVN or lesions located outside this nucleus did not significantly alter nursing periodicity or any other behavioral parameter. Results indicate an important role of the PVN for (i) maintaining maternal behavior, and (ii) the periodic display of nursing across lactation in rabbits.