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Keywords:

  • memory;
  • microdialysis;
  • norepinephrine;
  • oxytocin antagonist

Abstract

In this report, a series of four experiments was performed to evaluate the relationship between the olfactory bulb norepinephrine system and intra-olfactory bulb infusion of oxytocin in the preservation of social memory responses. The present data indicate that oxytocin exerts this preservation of social recognition through a specific, receptor-mediated mechanism within the olfactory bulb (experiment 1). The involvement of the olfactory bulb norepinephrine system is revealed by the demonstration that retrodialysis of oxytocin into the olfactory bulb increases norepinephrine release (experiment 4). Our data suggest that the increased output of olfactory bulb norepinephrine resulting from oxytocin appears to activate α-adrenoceptors to produce this preservation in recognition because infusions of clonidine into the olfactory bulb preserve recognition responses in a manner similar to that observed with oxytocin (experiment 2). In addition, a co-infusion of oxytocin with phentolamine abolishes recognition responses (experiment 3). Accordingly, this model affords the opportunity to study neuropeptide–catecholamine interactions, link these interactions with a specific behavioural outcome and identify a novel function/site of action for oxytocin in the male.