Behavioral neuroscience

Serotonin, estrus, and social context influence c-Fos immunoreactivity in the inferior colliculus.

PMID 27657308


A fundamental task of sensory systems is to extract relevant social information from a range of environmental stimuli in the face of changing behavioral contexts and reproductive states. Neuromodulatory pathways that interact with such contextual variables are 1 mechanism for achieving this. In the mouse inferior colliculus (IC), a midbrain auditory region, the neuromodulator serotonin increases in females interacting with courting males, but events downstream of serotonin release have not been investigated. Here, we manipulated serotonin levels in female mice with the serotonin releaser fenfluramine or the serotonin depleter para-chlorophenylalaninemethyl ester (pCPA). Females were then exposed to an empty cage, a male partner, or a playback of courtship vocalizations, and the numbers of neurons in the IC with positive immunoreactivity for the immediate early gene product c-Fos were measured. The effects of drug treatments depended on social context and estrous state. Fenfluramine had greater effects in the nonsocial than in the partner social treatments. Females in proestrus or estrus and given fenfluramine had higher densities of c-Fos immunoreactive neurons, while females in diestrus had fewer immunoreactive neurons. The drug pCPA had the expected opposite effect of fenfluramine, causing a decreased response in pro/estrus females and an increased response in diestrus females. These findings show that the effects of serotonin on c-Fos activity in the IC of females is dependent on both external context and reproductive state, and suggest that these effects occur downstream of serotonin release. (PsycINFO Database Record

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Serotonin, analytical standard