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Jun 24, 2020

Wireless Optogenetic Stimulation of Oxytocin Neurons in a Semi-natural Setup Dynamically Elevates Both Pro-social and Agonistic Behaviors

Posted by in categories: genetics, neuroscience

Complex behavioral phenotyping techniques are becoming more prevalent in the field of behavioral neuroscience, and thus methods for manipulating neuronal activity must be adapted to fit into such paradigms. Here, we present a head-mounted, magnetically activated device for wireless optogenetic manipulation that is compact, simple to construct, and suitable for use in group-living mice in an enriched semi-natural arena over several days. Using this device, we demonstrate that repeated activation of oxytocin neurons in male mice can have different effects on pro-social and agonistic behaviors, depending on the social context. Our findings support the social salience hypothesis of oxytocin and emphasize the importance of the environment in the study of social neuromodulators. Our wireless optogenetic device can be easily adapted for use in a variety of behavioral paradigms, which are normally hindered by tethered light delivery or a limited environment.

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