Fatherhood contributes to increased hippocampal spine density and anxiety regulation in California mice.
INTRODUCTION: Parenting alters the hippocampus, an area of the brain that undergoes significant experience-induced plasticity and contributes to emotional regulation. While the relationship between maternal care and hippocampal neuroplasticity has been characterized, the extent to which fatherhood alters the structure and function of the hippocampus is far less understood.
METHODS: Here, we investigated to what extent fatherhood altered anxiety regulation and dendritic morphology of the hippocampus using the highly paternal California mouse (Peromyscus californicus).
RESULTS: Fathers spent significantly more time on the open arms of the elevated plus maze, compared to non-fathers. Total distance traveled in the EPM was not changed by paternal experience, which suggests that the increased time spent on the open arms of the maze indicates decreased anxiety-like behavior. Fatherhood also increased dendritic spine density of granule cells in the dentate gyrus and basal dendrites of pyramidal cells in area CA1 of the hippocampus.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings parallel those observed in maternal rodents, suggesting that the hippocampus of fathers and mothers respond similarly to offspring.
Published In/Presented At
Glasper, E. R., Hyer, M. M., Katakam, J., Harper, R., Ameri, C., & Wolz, T. (2015). Fatherhood contributes to increased hippocampal spine density and anxiety regulation in California mice. Brain and behavior, 6(1), e00416. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.416
Department of Psychiatry, Fellows and Residents