Center for Comparative Neuroimaging; Department of Psychiatry
Animals; Animals, Suckling; Brain; Brain Mapping; Cocaine; Dopamine; Female; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Injections, Intraventricular; Lactation; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Maternal Behavior; Neural Pathways; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; *Reward; Time Factors
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences
Nursing has reciprocal benefits for both mother and infant, helping to promote maternal behavior and bonding. To test the "rewarding" nature of nursing, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to map brain activity in lactating dams exposed to their suckling pups versus cocaine. Suckling stimulation in lactating dams and cocaine exposure in virgin females activated the dopamine reward system. In contrast, lactating dams exposed to cocaine instead of pups showed a suppression of brain activity in the reward system. These data support the notion that pup stimulation is more reinforcing than cocaine, underscoring the importance of pup seeking over other rewarding stimuli during lactation.
DOI of Published Version
J Neurosci. 2005 Jan 5;25(1):149-56. Link to article on publisher's site
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Ferris, Craig F.; Kulkarni, Praveen P.; Sullivan, John M.; Harder, Josie A.; Messenger, Tara L.; and Febo, Marcelo, "Pup suckling is more rewarding than cocaine: evidence from functional magnetic resonance imaging and three-dimensional computational analysis" (2005). Open Access Articles. 1170.