美国纽约大学医学院Robert C. Froemke研究团队发现听觉皮质中产妇行为的先天和可塑机制。这一研究成果于2020年10月7日在线发表在国际学术期刊《自然》上。
Title: Innate and plastic mechanisms for maternal behaviour in auditory cortex
Author: Jennifer K. Schiavo, Silvana Valtcheva, Chloe J. Bair-Marshall, Soomin C. Song, Kathleen A. Martin, Robert C. Froemke
Abstract: Infant cries evoke powerful responses in parents1,2,3,4. Whether parental animals are intrinsically sensitive to neonatal vocalizations, or instead learn about vocal cues for parenting responses is unclear. In mice, pup-naive virgin females do not recognize the meaning of pup distress calls, but retrieve isolated pups to the nest after having been co-housed with a mother and litter5,6,7,8,9. Distress calls are variable, and require co-caring virgin mice to generalize across calls for reliable retrieval10,11. Here we show that the onset of maternal behaviour in mice results from interactions between intrinsic mechanisms and experience-dependent plasticity in the auditory cortex. In maternal females, calls with inter-syllable intervals (ISIs) from 75 to 375 milliseconds elicited pup retrieval, and cortical responses were generalized across these ISIs. By contrast, naive virgins were neuronally and behaviourally sensitized to the most common (‘prototypical’) ISIs. Inhibitory and excitatory neural responses were initially mismatched in the cortex of naive mice, with untuned inhibition and overly narrow excitation. During co-housing experiments, excitatory responses broadened to represent a wider range of ISIs, whereas inhibitory tuning sharpened to form a perceptual boundary. We presented synthetic calls during co-housing and observed that neurobehavioural responses adjusted to match these statistics, a process that required cortical activity and the hypothalamic oxytocin system. Neuroplastic mechanisms therefore build on an intrinsic sensitivity in the mouse auditory cortex, and enable rapid plasticity for reliable parenting behaviour.