A major goal in assessing biological determinants of behavior lies in studying the effect(s) of rearing on the development of the central nervous system. Specifically, a series of neuroanatomic analyses have been undertaken to identify potential neuropathological changes seen in monkeys exposed to early social deprivation, which leads to profound psychopathology and inappropriate responses to stress. The animals used in this study were either raised with their mother and peers (socially reared) or raised without maternal/peer contact (socially deprived). Within this context, the distribution of tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and arcuate nucleus of rhesus monkeys was determined by immunohistochemistry using an antibody against the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase, a marker for dopamine-containing systems. Additionally, the distribution of corticotropin-releasing factor-containing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus was assessed immunohistochemically. The majority (97.5%) of dopaminergic neurons in the paraventricular nucleus were parvicellular, with a small (2.5%), but consistently observed population of magnocellular neurons immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase. Within the arcuate nucleus, tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons were similar in morphology to the parvicellular neurons of the paraventricular nucleus. Qualitative assessment of corticotropin-releasing factor-immunoreactive neurons in the paraventricular nucleus revealed a parvicellular population of neurons located in medial aspects of the nucleus, similar to what has been observed in the rat. Quantitative analysis revealed no differences in the number of tyrosine hydroxylase- and corticotropin-releasing factor-immunoreactive neurons between rearing conditions, suggesting that these neurons were not affected, in terms of overall cell counts, by the early environmental insult of social deprivation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience