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Social Hormones and Human Behavior: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go from Here

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194070 Year: Pages: 95 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-407-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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Oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) are the paramount social hormones in mammals and accumulating evidence also strengthens the unique role of these neuropeptides also in human social behavior. Indeed from voles to humans, OT and AVP modulate an intriguing number of social behaviors resonating across species such as the quality of pair bonding, parenting, modulations of social stress, in-group & out-group relationships and social communications. Recent molecular genetic studies of the oxytocin (OXTR), arginine vasopressin 1a (AVPR1a) and arginine vasopressin 1b (AVPR1b) receptors have strengthened the role of these two neuropeptides in a range of normal and pathological human behaviors. Importantly, dysfunctions in the OT and AVP neural pathways are likely contributing to deficits in social skills and communication in disorders such as autism. This Research Topic covers the state of the science and provides a deep view of social hormone research in humans to illustrates how pharmacological, genetic and neuroimaging strategies can be successfully combined toward unraveling the mystery of how human social behavior is regulated. Understanding human social behavior at the molecular level, i.e. social neuroscience, is not only crucial for treatment and diagnosis of disorders characterized by deficits in social cognition but also has important implications in establishing the congruence of findings from different approaches in the Social Sciences and Biology. We bring together in this issue a broad spectrum of investigators from the neurosciences, genetics, psychology, economics and political science towards a deeper understanding of the biological roots of human social behavior. We hope that this transdisciplinary Research Topic will bring new insights and ideas to the field, give future perspectives while also addressing open questions and limitation in order to develop intervention and prevention strategies, and to translate the basic social hormone research into clinical applications. This Research Topic covers the state of the science and provides a deep view of social hormone research in humans to illustrates how pharmacological, genetic and neuroimaging strategies can be successfully combined toward unraveling the mystery of how human social behavior is regulated. Understanding human social behavior at the molecular level, aka social neuroscience, is not only crucial for treatment and diagnosis of disorders characterized by deficits in social cognition but such an understanding has important implications for consilience of the Social Sciences and Biology. We bring together in this issue a broad spectrum of investigators from the neurosciences, genetics, psychology, economics and political science towards a deeper understanding of the biological roots of human social behavior. We hope that this transdisciplinary Research Topic will bring new insights and ideas to the field, give future perspectives while also addressing open questions and limitation in order to develop intervention and prevention strategies, and to translate the basic social hormone research into clinical applications.

Neural basis of social learning, social deciding, and other-regarding preferences

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194292 Year: Pages: 199 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-429-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Humans and many other social animals decide, or learn when necessary, what to do in a given social situation by assessing a range of variables related to social states (e.g., competitive or cooperative), others’ overt behavior (e.g., response choices and outcomes), others’ covert mental states (e.g., beliefs, intentions and desires), and one’s own interpersonal inclination (e.g. other-regarding preferences and generosity). Recent studies in social neuroscience have begun to uncover how such social variables are processed, encoded, and integrated in the brain. The goal of the current Research Topic is to promote a better understanding of neural basis of social learning, social decision-making, and other-regarding preferences.

Essential Pathways and Circuits of Autism Pathogenesis

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199051 Year: Pages: 181 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-905-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology --- Genetics
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 68 children in the United states is afflicted with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), yet at this time, there is no cure for the disease. Autism is characterized by delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize and adapt to novelty. The condition is typically identified in children around 3 years of age, however the high heritability of autism suggests that the disease process begins at conception. The identification of over 500 ASD risk genes, has enabled the molecular genetic dissection of the pathogenesis of the disease in model organisms such as mice. Despite the genetic heterogeneity of ASD etiology, converging evidence suggests that these disparate genetic lesions may result in the disruption of a limited number of key biochemical pathways or circuits. Classification of patients into groups by pathogenic rather than etiological categories, will likely aid future therapeutic development and clinical trials. In this set of papers, we explore the existing evidence supporting this view. Specifically, we focus on biochemical cascades such as mTOR and ERK signaling, the mRNA network bound by FMRP and UBE3A, dorsal and ventral striatal circuits, cerebellar circuits, hypothalamic projections, as well as prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortical circuits. Special attention will be given to studies that demonstrate the necessity and/or sufficiency of genetic disruptions (e.g. by molecular deletion and/or replacement) in these pathways and circuits for producing characteristic behavioral features of autism. Necessarily these papers will be heavily weighted towards basic mechanisms elucidated in animal models, but may also include investigations in patients.

Oxytocin's routes in social behavior: Into the 21st century

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196968 Year: Pages: 132 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-696-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Our brain is endowed with an incredible capacity to be social, to trust, to cooperate, to be altruistic, to feel empathy and love. Nevertheless, the biological underpinnings of such behaviors remain partially hardwired. Seminal research in rodents has provided important insights on the identification of specific genes in modulating social behaviors, in particular, the arginine vasopressin receptor and the oxytocin receptor genes. These genes are involved in regulating a wide range of social behaviors, mother-infant interactions, social recognition, aggression and socio-sexual behavior. Remarkably, we now know that these genes contribute to social behavior in a broad range of species from voles to humans. Indeed, advances in human non-invasive neuroimaging techniques and genetics have enabled scientists to begin to elucidate the neurobiological basis of the complexity of human social behaviors using "pharmacological fMRI" and "imaging genetics". Over the past few years, there has been a strong interest focused on the role of oxytocin in modulating human social behaviors with translational relevance for understanding neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia and depression, in which deficits in social perception and social recognition are key phenotypes. The convergence of this interdisciplinary research is beginning to reveal the complex nature of oxytocin’s actions. For instance, the way that oxytocin does influence social functioning is highly related to individual differences in social experiences, but also to the inter-individual variability in the receptor distribution of this molecule in the brain. Remarkably, despite the increasing evidence that oxytocin has a key role in regulating human social behavior, we still lack of knowledge on the core mechanisms of action of this molecule. Understanding its fundamental actions is a crucial need in order to target optimal therapeutic strategies for human social disorders. The originality of this Research Topic stands on its translational focus on bridging the gap between fundamental knowledge acquired from oxytocin research in voles and monkeys and recent clinical investigations in humans. For instance, what are the key animal findings that can import further knowledge on the mechanisms of actions of this molecule in humans? What are the key experiences that can be performed in the animal model in order to answer significant science gaps in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders? Hence, within this Research Topic, we will review the current state of the field, identify where the gaps in knowledge are, and propose directions for future research. This issue will begin with a comparative review that examines the role of this peptide in diverse animal models, which highlights the adaptive value of oxytocin’s function across multiple species. Then, a series of reviews will examine the role of oxytocin in voles, primates, and humans with an eye toward revealing commonalities in the underlying brain circuits mediating oxytocin’s effects on social behavior. Next, there will be a translational review highlighting the evidence for oxytocin’s role in clinical applications in psychopathology. Hence, via the continuum of basic to translational research areas, we will try to address the important gaps in our understanding of the neurobiological routes of social cognition and the mechanisms of action of the neuropeptides that guide our behaviors and decisions.

Reproductive Neuroendocrinology and Social Behavior

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198627 Year: Pages: 313 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-862-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Internal medicine --- Medicine (General) --- Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Anti-social behaviors and social deficits induced mental disorders are critical problems in our society today. Social behaviors and interactions are shaped by experience, hereditary components (genes, hormones and neuropeptides) and environmental factors (photoperiods and metabolic signals). In addition to the classical gonadotropin-releasing hormone, RFamide peptides, kisspeptin and gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone are emerging as important regulators of the reproductive axis. These neuropeptides are evolutionarily conserved and are regulated by environmental factors. In this Research Topic, we advocate more recent advances in reproductive neuropeptides and sex steroids in the domains of social behavior including sexual and parental behavior, aggression, stress and anxiety. Using multiple species model, we also review how genes and the neuroendocrine system interact at the cell and organismic levels to contribute to social behavior in particular the epigenetic genomic changes caused by early life environment. We provide comprehensive insights of distinct neural networks and how cellular and molecular events in the brain regulate social behavior from a comparative perspective.

Development of the Hypothalamus

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196340 Year: Pages: 264 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-634-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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The hypothalamus is the region of the brain in charge of the maintenance of the internal milieu of the organism. It is also essential to orchestrate reproductive, parental, aggressive-defensive, and other social behaviors, and for the expression of emotions. Due to the structural complexity of the hypothalamus, however, many basic aspects of its ontogenesis are still mysterious. Nowadays we assist to a renewal of interest spurred in part by the growing realization that prenatal and early postnatal influences on the hypothalamus could entail pathological conditions later in life. Intriguing questions for the future include: do early specification phenomena reflect on adult hypothalamic function and possibly on some kinds of behavior? Can early events like specification, migration or formation of nuclei influence adult hypothalamic function? A change in morphological paradigm, from earlier columnar interpretations to neuromeric ones, is taking place. Concepts long taken for granted start to be challenged in view of advances in developmental and comparative neurobiology, and notably also in the molecular characterization of hypothalamic structures. How should we understand the position of the hypothalamus in relation to other brain regions? Should we bundle it together with the thalamus, a functionally, genetically and developmentally very different structure? Does the classic concept of “diencephalon” make sense, or should the hypothalamus be separated? Does the preoptic area belong to the hypothalamus or the telencephalon? The answer to these questions in the context of recent causal molecular analysis will help to understand hypothalamic evolution and morphogenesis as well as its adult function and connectivity. In this Research Topic we have reviewed the fundamentals of hypothalamic ontogenesis and evolution, summarizing present-day knowledge, taking stock of the latest advances, and anticipating future challenges.

Keywords

Cadherins --- circadian --- Mammillary --- MCH --- Nkx2.4 --- Notch --- Oxytocin --- prosomeric --- Shh --- thyroid

Trends in Neuroendocrinology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450725 Year: Pages: 138 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-072-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General) --- Internal medicine --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Neuroendocrinology is the discipline that investigates the interplay between the nervous and endocrine systems i.e. the control of endocrine glands by the central and peripheral nervous systems, the action of hormones on nerve cells and the production of hormones by the nervous system. The present Research Topic is a compilation of contributions stemming from the 8th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN2014) held in Sydney, Australia, that illustrates various facets of current neuroendocrine research.

What Determines Social Behavior? Investigating the Role of Emotions, Self-Centered Motives, and Social Norms

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199648 Year: Pages: 403 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-964-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Human behavior and decision making is subject to social and motivational influences such as emotions, norms and self/other regarding preferences. The identification of the neural and psychological mechanisms underlying these factors is a central issue in psychology, behavioral economics and social neuroscience, with important clinical, social, and even political implications. However, despite a continuously growing interest from the scientific community, the processes underlying these factors, as well as their ontogenetic and phylogenetic development, have so far remained elusive. In this Research Topic we collect articles that provide challenging insights and stimulate a fruitful controversy on the question of “what determines social behavior”. Indeed, over the last decades, research has shown that introducing a social context to otherwise abstract tasks has diverse effects on social behavior. On the one hand, it may induce individuals to act irrationally, for instance to refuse money, but on the other hand it improves individuals’ reasoning, in that formerly difficult abstract problems can be easily solved. These lines of research led to distinct (although not necessarily mutually exclusive) models for socially-driven behavioral changes. For instance, a popular theoretical framework interprets human behavior as a result of a conflict between cognition and emotion, with the cognitive system promoting self-interested choices, and the emotional system (triggered by the social context) operating against them. Other theories favor social norms and deontic heuristics in biasing human reasoning and encouraging choices that are sometimes in conflict with one’s interest. Few studies attempted to disentangle between these (as well as other) models. As a consequence, although insightful results arise from specific domains/tasks, a comprehensive theoretical framework is still missing. Furthermore, studies employing neuroimaging techniques have begun to shed some light on the neural substrates involved in social behavior, implicating consistently (although not exclusively) portions of the limbic system, the insular and the prefrontal cortex. In this context, a challenge for present research lies not only in further mapping the brain structures implicated in social behavior, or in describing in detail the functional interaction between these structures, but in showing how the implicated networks relate to different theoretical models. This is Research Topic hosted by members of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research “Affective Sciences – Emotions in Individual Behaviour and Social Processes”. We collected contributions from the international community which extended the current knowledge about the psychological and neural structures underlying social behavior and decision making. In particular, we encouraged submissions from investigators arising from different domains (psychology, behavioral economics, affective sciences, etc.) implementing different techniques (behavior, electrophysiology, neuroimaging, brain stimulations) on different populations (neurotypical adults, children, brain damaged or psychiatric patients, etc.). Animal studies are also included, as the data reported are of high comparative value. Finally, we also welcomed submissions of meta-analytical articles, mini-reviews and perspective papers which offer provocative and insightful interpretations of the recent literature in the field.

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