Cholecystokinin modulation of maternal behavior

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Maternal behavior is regulated by several neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and hormones. This mini-review focuses on the role of cholecystokinin (CCK), a neuropeptide and gut hormone best known as a satiety signal, in mediating maternal behavior. In addition to the role of CCK in the infant in mother-infant interactions, maternal CCK appears to also be important. We discuss maternal behavior research, mainly in rats, that has examined the effect of administering CCK to dams, CCK-opioid interactions, and maternal behavior in rats that lack CCK1 receptors. We discuss the possibility that CCK might play a role in neurological adjustments during pregnancy that ultimately influence behavioral adaptations by the offspring during lactation. Finally, we hypothesize that maternal CCK is also involved in maternal memory and reward.

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