My research proposal focuses on a fundamental question in behavioral neuroscience: What is the neural basis of social attachment? In our model of social attachment using the monogamous prairie vole, we have identified a brain region, the ventral pallidum, and a neuropeptide receptor, the vasopressin receptor (V1aR), that appear to be critical for the formation of the pair bond between monogamous mates. The three specific aims outlined in this proposal will further elucidate the role of the VIaR in the ventral pallidum during pair bond formation. First, we will examine the neuronal activation, assessed by induction of c-Fos expression, in the ventral pallidum and other candidate brain regions during mating. Next, we will determine the necessity of VIaR in the ventral pallidum or other candidate regions in pair bond formation using pharmacological manipulation. Finally, we will identify the other neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems that colocalize with V1aR in these critical regions and which of these may be involved during pair bond formation. The results from these aims will help us understand how the V1aR may be acting to mediate pair bonding and ultimately generate novel and viable hypotheses regarding the neurobiology of social attachment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Individual Predoctoral NRSA for M.D./Ph.D. Fellowships (ADAMHA) (F30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-2 (01))
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Goldschmidts, Walter L
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Emory University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Lim, Miranda M; Liu, Yan; Ryabinin, Andrey E et al. (2007) CRF receptors in the nucleus accumbens modulate partner preference in prairie voles. Horm Behav 51:508-15
Lim, Miranda M; Tsivkovskaia, Natalia O; Bai, Yaohui et al. (2006) Distribution of corticotropin-releasing factor and urocortin 1 in the vole brain. Brain Behav Evol 68:229-40
Lim, Miranda M; Young, Larry J (2006) Neuropeptidergic regulation of affiliative behavior and social bonding in animals. Horm Behav 50:506-17
Lim, Miranda M; Nair, Hemanth P; Young, Larry J (2005) Species and sex differences in brain distribution of corticotropin-releasing factor receptor subtypes 1 and 2 in monogamous and promiscuous vole species. J Comp Neurol 487:75-92
Lim, Miranda M; Bielsky, Isadora F; Young, Larry J (2005) Neuropeptides and the social brain: potential rodent models of autism. Int J Dev Neurosci 23:235-43
Lim, M M; Young, L J (2004) Vasopressin-dependent neural circuits underlying pair bond formation in the monogamous prairie vole. Neuroscience 125:35-45
Lim, M M; Hammock, E A D; Young, L J (2004) A method for acetylcholinesterase staining of brain sections previously processed for receptor autoradiography. Biotech Histochem 79:11-6
Lim, Miranda M; Murphy, Anne Z; Young, Larry J (2004) Ventral striatopallidal oxytocin and vasopressin V1a receptors in the monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). J Comp Neurol 468:555-70
Lim, M M; Hammock, E A D; Young, L J (2004) The role of vasopressin in the genetic and neural regulation of monogamy. J Neuroendocrinol 16:325-32