Combined c-fos and14C-2-deoxyglucose method to differentiate site-specific excitation from disinhibition: Analysis of maternal behavior in the rat

Barry R. Komisaruk, Jay S. Rosenblatt, Maria Luz Barona, Sandra Chinapen, Jonathan Nissanov, Robert T. O'Bannon, Byron M. Johnson, Maria Cruz Rodriguez Del Cerro

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31 Scopus citations


On the basis of evidence that 14C-2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) autoradiography indicates activity at axonal terminals, whereas c-fos immunocytochemistry indicates activity of neuronal cell bodies, we combined these techniques in adjacent histological brain sections to assess excitatory and disinhibitory synaptic relations in selected sites in female rats in which maternal behavior was elicited by natural parturition, sensitization (7- to 10-day cohabitation with foster pups), or hysterectomy. All individuals in these three groups expressed maternal behavior immediately before 2-DG injection. Controls were non-maternal virgins. Parturient and Hysterectomized groups: elevation (compared with controls) in both 2-DG and c-fos activity in medial preoptic area (MPOA) indicated an increase in its input and output activity, i.e., an excitatory interaction; the MPOA was previously shown to be critical for maternal behavior. Sensitized group: a decrease in 2-DG activity of vomeronasal nuclei (bed nucleus of the accessory olfactory tract, BAOT, and medial amygdala, ME, replicating our previous study) and an elevation in c-fos activity, jointly indicate disinhibition of these nuclei, that were previously shown to modulate pup-chemostimulation-induced sensitization. All other sites showed evidence of excitatory input-output relationships (i.e., joint increase in both 2-DG and c-fos activity), e.g., bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), lateral habenula (LHAB), central gray (CG), thalamus (THAL), septum (SEPT), and ventral tegmental area (VTA). The present study demonstrates the feasibility of measuring 2-DG and c-fos activity jointly in adjacent sections of the same brain, thereby providing evidence to distinguish between localized excitation and disinhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-272
Number of pages11
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 24 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Disinhibition
  • Maternal behavior
  • Parturition
  • Sensitization
  • Vomeronasal system
  • c-fos-2DG joint analysis

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