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- ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE
Hatano high- and low-avoidance (in a two-way active avoidance task) animals (HAA and LAA, respectively) were successfully selected from a Sprague-Dawley rat population. Pup growth of both strains was dependent on the maternal strain in a cross-fostering study. To determine whether there are strain-specific differences between HAA and LAA in maternal care, both strains of dams were subjected to a test battery as measured by nest building, home cage behavior, pup retrieval, and milk ejection tests. In addition, changes in plasma concentrations of lactotropic and corticotropic hormones such as prolactin, ACTH, and corticosterone were examined during lactation. The test battery indicated that the dams of both strains built good nests and spent an identical amount of time with their offspring. However, LAA dams showed a prolonged latency time for pup retrieval and often left pups outside the nest until the end of the test period. LAA dams also showed a decreased amount of milk ejection, whereas no strain differences were observed in milk ejection after oxytocin treatment. During lactation, a lesser increase in plasma concentrations of prolactin and a greater increase in ACTH were found in LAA dams. There were no differences between the two strains in plasma concentrations of corticosterone. These results clearly demonstrated decreases in maternal behavior and milk ejection in LAA as compared to HAA dams. The present results also suggest that maternal motivation and mechanisms responsible for maternal hormones related to suckling are involved in the degree of pup growth. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).
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