Deficit in attachment behavior in mice lacking the μ-opioid receptor gene

Anna Moles, Brigitte L. Kieffer, Francesca R. D'Amato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Endogenous opioid binding to μ receptors is hypothesized to mediate natural rewards and has been proposed to be the basis of infant attachment behavior. Here, we report that μ-opioid receptor knockout mouse pups emit fewer ultrasonic vocalizations when removed from their mothers but not when exposed to cold or male mice odors. Moreover these knockout pups do not show a preference toward their mothers' cues and do not show ultrasonic calls potentiation after brief maternal exposure. Results from this study may indicate a molecular mechanism for diseases characterized by deficits in attachment behavior, such as autism or reactive attachment disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-1986
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume304
Issue number5679
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 25 2004

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