Partner 8 - Universität Regensburg
FemNAT-CD Team Uniklinikum Heidelberg
FemNAT-CD: Team Universität Regensburg
At the Department of Behavioural and Molecular Neurobiology of the University of Regensburg, Germany chaired by Prof. Dr. Inga D. Neumann we are generally interested in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying emotionality and social behaviours, in particular in the involvement of neuropeptides such as oxytocin, vasopressin, neuropeptide S and CRH. In this context we developed rat and mouse models of anxiety- and depression-related behaviours, of chronic psychosocial stress and of social behaviours such as social preference, social fear conditioning, maternal behaviour and aggression [Website].
Our research is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD) and BMBF. Also, our Department is the core centre of an international and interdisciplinary Master Programme sponsored by the Elitenetwork of Bavaria “Experimental and Clinical Neurosciences” [Website ECN].
In the context of this EU-supported project we will be working with a translational rat model to study conduct disorder in young girls. We have developed an effective modification of the classic resident-intruder paradigm commonly used for studying aggressive behaviour in male laboratory rodents. In the Female Intruder Test (FIT), adolescent or young adult female rats are confronted with a smaller intruder female in their home cage, and their behaviour (aggressive or non-aggressive) is measured.
Using this paradigm, we will investigate the, as of yet unknown, neuronal circuitries underlying aggressive behaviour in adolescent and adult females in comparison to males. We test the hypothesis that the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin as well as the classical neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) are important brain regulators controlling aggression in a sex-specific manner. In this context, we also aim to identify the brain areas in which these factors, which were shown to be importantly involved in various aspects of social behaviour, act. To do so, we use techniques such as in vivo microdialysis, venous blood sampling, immunohistochemistry, receptor autoradiography, in situ hybridization, qPCR, intracerebral and systemic application of pharmacogenic/psychoactive drugs and extensive behavioural observations.
UREG: fighting rats and an immunofluorescence pic
Immunofluorescence: double staining of oxytocin (red) and pERK (a marker for neuronal activation, green) in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus of an adolescent female rat that had been in a fight.