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Fatherhood affects dendritic spines and vasopressin V1a receptors in the primate prefrontal cortex


Like human fathers, male marmosets help raise their young, yet the ways in which fatherhood influences the brain remain largely unknown. We show that first-time and experienced marmoset fathers have enhanced density of dendritic spines on pyramidal neurons in prefrontal cortex as compared to non-fathers. In parallel, the abundance of vasopressin V1a receptors and the proportion of V1a receptor–labeled dendritic spines increase.

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Figure 1: Fatherhood enhances dendritic spine density on prefrontal cortex pyramidal cells.
Figure 2: Fatherhood induces vasopressin V1a receptor changes in the prefrontal cortex.
Figure 3: Vasopressin is observed not only in the hypothalamus but also in the prefrontal cortex.


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We thank C. Gross, A. Pavlic, B. Leuner, C. Mirescu, M. McBreen and J. Goodhouse for their help. This work was supported by the US National Institutes of Health and National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Mental Health Research Association (E.G.), and a National Research Service Award fellowship (Y.K).

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Gould.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Table 1

Fatherhood does not affect dendritic spine density, length and branching on occipital cortex pyramidal cells. (PDF 71 kb)

Supplementary Table 2

Fatherhood does not affect dendritic length and branching on prefrontal cortex pyramidal cells. (PDF 67 kb)

Supplementary Table 3

Fatherhood does not affect optical intensity of vasopressin V1a receptors in of the OC or vasopressin V1b, prolactin and oxytocin receptors in the PFC. (PDF 62 kb)

Supplementary Methods (PDF 126 kb)

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Kozorovitskiy, Y., Hughes, M., Lee, K. et al. Fatherhood affects dendritic spines and vasopressin V1a receptors in the primate prefrontal cortex. Nat Neurosci 9, 1094–1095 (2006).

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