Participant Info

First Name
Heather
Last Name
Brenhouse
Institution
Northeastern University
Address
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Postal Code
Phone
Title of Symposium
INSIDE OUT: VIEWING EXPERIENTIAL MODULATORS OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
List the Chair(s) and All Presenter Names and Email Addresses

Heather C. Brenhouse (Chair), [email protected]

Lauren Granata (presenter), [email protected]

Amanda C. Kentner (presenter),  [email protected]

Alexa H. Veenema (presenter), [email protected]

Laurel Gabhard-Durnam (presenter), [email protected]

 

Topics to be Addressed:
Adversity, Parental behavior such as maternal or paternal or parent-child interactions
Ages of Research Subjects
prenatal, infancy, adolescence
Details of Research Subjects
Humans, Rodents
Symposium Proposal Text (type or paste from Word doc)

INSIDE OUT:  VIEWING EXPERIENTIAL MODULATORS OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

While as experimenters, we often aim to assess the impact of various environments on maturation and later life function, one can argue that the influence of environment on developing systems may be best classified by a measured impact from the perspective of the individual.  With cross-species viewpoints, this symposium will discuss several of the most important mediators of development, namely parent-offspring interaction, developmental milestone achievement, and social experience. We will address two main questions regarding developmental mediators of social and affective regulation:  1) How do we measure ‘experience’? and 2) How can these experiences modulate later social and affective behaviors? First, Lauren Granata will discuss how different paradigms of early life adversity in rodents can alter the developmental trajectory of ultrasonic communication that pups use to elicit maternal care, and how altered communication can predict later social and anxiety-like behaviors.  Dr. Amanda Kentner will then discuss how environmental enrichment can modify epigenetic and metabolic mediators of later social behaviors.  Dr. Alexa Veenema will present the role of the mesolimbic dopamine system in the expression of social play behavior in juvenile rats.  As a translational bridge, Dr. Laurel Gabhard-Durnam will describe how emotion regulation and related corticolimbic activity in adulthood is impacted by experience with music during critical points in early life.  We believe this symposium will incite discussions that will be of wide interest to the members of ISDP.  Four female researchers from diverse career stages and institutions will provide valuable perspectives as we examine these critical questions. 

DEVELOPMENTAL TRAJECTORIES OF INFANT ULTRASONIC VOCALIZATION IN THE RAT PREDICT ANXIETY-LIKE AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR

Lauren Granata, Northeastern University, Boston MA (Primary Presenter) [email protected]

Alissa Valentine, Jennifer A. Honeycutt, Heather C. Brenhouse

Rodent models of early life adversity (ELA) show that environmental manipulations impact the mother-infant relationship and lead to social deficits and anxiety-like behavior later in life. ELA typically alters maternal care, either directly, as in the maternal separation (MS) paradigm, or indirectly as a result of resource scarcity in the limited bedding (LB) paradigm. Maternal care in rats is partially dependent on pups’ emission of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) to elicit maternal behavior. The function of USVs transitions in adolescence, becoming a social tool to convey positive or negative affect and facilitate social interactions. Given their role in promoting mother-infant interactions and social behavior throughout life, disrupted development of USVs may serve as an early indicator of adolescent behavioral dysfunction. Thus, we explored whether interfering with maternal care via MS or LB would disrupt the development of communication and mediate later anxiety-like and social behavior. We recorded USVs from isolated pups at four preweaning timepoints to define a typical developmental trajectory of acoustic parameters in controls and observe deviations from this trajectory in altered rearing conditions. Categorizing USVs by sonographic structure revealed unique vocal repertoires over time that were dependent on sex and rearing condition. We found that changes in proportions of specific call-types represent developmental milestones that predicted adolescent behaviors. At weaning, the proportion of “complex” type calls, defined by rapid frequency modulations, correlated with anxiety-like behavior in adolescent rats. Findings help elucidate the role of communication during development and characterize USVs as a developmental milestone in rodent models.

EARLY LIFE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLEXITY BUFFERS REDUCTIONS IN MATERNAL CARE AND OFFSPRING SOCIAL BEHAVIOR IN A RODENT MODEL OF MATERNAL IMMUNE ACTIVATION

Amanda C. Kentner, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, MA (Primary Presenter) [email protected]

Karen Núñez Estevez, Alejandro Rondón-Ortiz, Jenny Nguyen, Eric Connors, Molly MacRae, Shelby Pillsbury, Xin Zhao, Ruqayah Mohammed, Mary Erikson, Ryland Roderick, Madeline Puracchio

Perinatal infection is associated with a heterogeneous set of symptoms, including offspring social impairments. These impairments tend to occur in later life and in a sex-dependent manner, whereby males are reportedly more vulnerable than females. Using a rodent maternal immune activation model, we show developmental programming through a reduction in the placental enzymes Hsd11b2 and Hsd11b2/Hsd11b1, suggesting disturbances in glucocorticoid metabolism. This correlated with sustained, and sex-specific, changes in a constellation of stress (e.g. Nr3c1, Fkbp5) and epigenetic (e.g. Ogt, Dnmt1, Mcep2) writers in placenta and fetal/adolescent brain. Following inflammatory challenge, use of nesting resources and overall nest quality was reduced in the dams. Prenatal housing in an enriched environment prevented many of these disruptions. Impairments in offspring social behaviors were also present following maternal immune activation. While males tended to receive less contact from their conspecifics, the apparent resiliency of females was tied to the timing of infection and the social test employed. Specifically, an early timed gestational challenge did not disturb behaviors in either social interaction or social preference. However, female social discrimination was impaired. Importantly, life-long exposure to environmental enrichment promoted resiliency against the social, and many of the physiological, impacts of maternal immune activation, potentially mediated by changes in maternal care quality. Given that enrichment has demonstrated clinical relevancy in human rehabilitation settings, applying some of the elements of these protocols (e.g. social, physical, cognitive stimulation) to animal models of health and disease allows for the exploration of the mechanisms that underlie their success.

ROLE OF DOPAMINE IN THE REGULATION OF SOCIAL PLAY BEHAVIOR IN MALE AND FEMALE JUVENILE RATS

Alexa H. Veenema, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI (Primary Presenter) [email protected]

Remco Bredewold, Christina J. Reppucci

Growing up in an environment in which juveniles are exposed to social play is essential for the development of social competence in humans, non-human primates, and rats. Social play deficits are seen in children with autism spectrum disorder and may be due to changes in circuits regulating motivation and reward. Here, we determined whether the mesolimbic dopamine system is involved in the regulation of social play in male and female juvenile rats. Single-housed five-week-old male and female rats were exposed in their home cage to an unfamiliar sex- and age-matched stimulus rat for 10 min and brains were obtained for Fos immunohistochemistry or rats underwent cannulation or probe implantation for subsequent pharmacological and microdialysis experiments combined with social play. We showed that 1) the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is activated in both sexes in response to social play exposure, 2) temporary inactivation of the VTA reduces social play in both sexes, 3) social play is associated with increased extracellular dopamine release in the VTA in both sexes; 4) social play in females, but not in males, is associated with increased extracellular dopamine release in the lateral septum, which receives VTA dopamine projections, and 5) pharmacological blockade of dopamine receptors in the lateral septum reduced social play in both sexes, but required a higher dose in females. These findings suggest that VTA activation in both sexes is required for expression of social play, while dopaminergic projections from the VTA to the lateral septum are involved sex-specific regulation of social play.

MUSIC EXPERIENCE IN DEVELOPMENT IMPACTS ADULT EMOTION REGULATION IN HUMANS

Laurel Gabard-Durnam, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA (Primary Presenter) [email protected]

Takao K. Hensch, Nim Tottenham

Learning to regulate emotions is a hallmark of healthy human development. Identifying windows of plasticity when environmental experiences most heavily impact emotion regulation development is critical for both understanding and effectively intervening in mental health trajectories. However, these plasticity windows have been difficult to detect because the core brain substrates of emotion regulation, especially the prefrontal cortex, undergo prolonged development over decades. Measuring the effects of human experience proactively across this long timeframe is generally prohibitive. Here I leverage music as an experience that engages emotion regulation circuitry to consider when normative, day-to-day affective experiences in development most deeply shape emotion regulation behavior. Specifically, pop songs provide age-specific music experiences to test, as they are very salient within discrete time windows (e.g. when they are heavily played on the radio). Using pop songs that adults (n = 58, replication sample n = 24) heard first during preschool, childhood, or adolescence, I have found that under stress, adults show a selective preference for music from their childhoods relative to other periods. This preference was not observed in adults (n = 33) with minimal exposure to this specific music during development, though. Only music introduced in childhood regulates adult emotion and autonomic function, via unique enhancement of adult prefrontal cortex activity and functional connectivity with the amygdala. My results indicate that childhood is a period of peak plasticity when experiences like music can enduringly influence emotion regulation neurobiology and behavior.

Personal Info

Is this a Young Investigator Symposium?
No
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