Monoamine Activity in Anterior Hypothalamus of Guinea Pig Pups Separated from Their Mothers

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Brief isolation in a novel environment increased the ratios of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol to norepinephrine (MHPG:NE) and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid to dopamine (DOPAC: DA) in the anterior hypothalamus of guinea pig pups. Ratios were significantly elevated after 90 min of isolation and for MHPG:NE, after 30 min of isolation; changes were due to increases in MHPG and DOPAC. Home cage isolation produced no change in any measure of catecholamine activity. No changes in levels of serotonin or its metabolite were observed. In 1 experiment, resting levels of NE and DOPAC:DA were predictive of the rate of separation-induced vocalization. Maternal separation in the context of novelty increases hypothalamic NE and DA activity; however, both isolation and novelty are required because neither maternal separation in the home cage nor exposure to a novel cage together with the mother had any discernible effect.



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