The Role of Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and D-Cycloserine in Remediating Social Behavior in Rats with Amygdala Lesions
Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social behavior. To reduce the social deficits characteristic of autism, the compounds oxytocin, arginine vasopressin, D-cycloserine, and D-cycloserine + oxytocin were explored as therapeutic agents. Twenty-one Long Evans Hooded rats underwent a bilateral amygdala lesion, which reduced the time of social interactions between the pairs of animals. Upon administration of D-cycloserine, the social deficits induced by the lesions were significantly reversed in both sexes. In addition, it was observed that the efficacy of the treatments was affected by the sex of the subjects. Male rats had the largest increase in social behavior when given D-cycloserine. However, female rats experienced the largest reduction in social impairment when administered oxytocin. Thus, sexually dimorphic treatments should be further investigated for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
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