Center for Translational Social Neuroscience

Atlanta, United States

Center for Translational Social Neuroscience

Atlanta, United States
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Bruner E.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion HumanaBurgos | Pereira-Pedro A.S.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion HumanaBurgos | Chen X.,Emory University | Rilling J.K.,Emory University | Rilling J.K.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience
Annals of Anatomy | Year: 2017

Recent analyses have suggested that the size and proportions of the precuneus are remarkably variable among adult humans, representing a major source of geometrical difference in midsagittal brain morphology. The same area also represents the main midsagittal brain difference between humans and chimpanzees, being more expanded in our species. Enlargement of the upper parietal surface is a specific feature of Homo sapiens, when compared with other fossil hominids, suggesting the involvement of these cortical areas in recent modern human evolution. Here, we provide a survey on midsagittal brain morphology by investigating whether precuneus size represents the largest component of variance within a larger and racially diverse sample of 265 adult humans. Additionally, we investigate the relationship between precuneus shape variation and folding patterns. Precuneus proportions are confirmed to be a major source of human brain variation even when racial variability is considered. Larger precuneus size is associated with additional precuneal gyri, generally in its anterior district. Spatial variation is most pronounced in the dorsal areas, with no apparent differences between hemispheres, between sexes, or among different racial groups. These dorsal areas integrate somatic and visual information together with the lateral elements of the parietal cortex, representing a crucial node for self-centered mental imagery. The histological basis and functional significance of this intra-specific variation in the upper precuneus remains to be evaluated. © 2017 Elsevier GmbH

Li L.,Emory University | Li L.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Hu X.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Preuss T.M.,Emory University | And 6 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2013

Mapping anatomical brain networks with graph-theoretic analysis of diffusion tractography has recently gained popularity, because of its presumed value in understanding brain function. However, this approach has seldom been used to compare brain connectomes across species, which may provide insights into brain evolution. Here, we employed a data-driven approach to compare interregional brain connections across three primate species: 1) the intensively studied rhesus macaque, 2) our closest living primate relative, the chimpanzee, and 3) humans. Specifically, we first used random parcellations and surface-based probabilistic diffusion tractography to derive the brain networks of the three species under various network densities and resolutions. We then compared the characteristics of the networks using graph-theoretic measures. In rhesus macaques, our tractography-defined hubs showed reasonable overlap with hubs previously identified using anterograde and retrograde tracer data. Across all three species, hubs were largely symmetric in the two hemispheres and were consistently identified in medial parietal, insular, retrosplenial cingulate and ventrolateral prefrontal cortices, suggesting a conserved structural architecture within these regions. However, species differences were observed in the inferior parietal cortex, polar and medial prefrontal cortices. The potential significance of these interspecies differences is discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Hecht E.E.,Graduate Program in Neuroscience | Hecht E.E.,Emory University | Hecht E.E.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Preuss T.M.,Emory University | And 5 more authors.
Cerebral Cortex | Year: 2013

Social learning varies among primate species. Macaques only copy the product of observed actions, or emulate, while humans and chimpanzees also copy the process, or imitate. In humans, imitation is linked to the mirror system. Here we compare mirror system connectivity across these species using diffusion tensor imaging. In macaques and chimpanzees, the preponderance of this circuitry consists of frontal-temporal connections via the extreme/external capsules. In contrast, humans have more substantial temporal-parietal and frontal-parietal connections via the middle/inferior longitudinal fasciculi and the third branch of the superior longitudinal fasciculus. In chimpanzees and humans, but not in macaques, this circuitry includes connections with inferior temporal cortex. In humans alone, connections with superior parietal cortex were also detected. We suggest a model linking species differences in mirror system connectivity and responsivity with species differences in behavior, including adaptations for imitation and social learning of tool use. © 2013 The Author.

Latzman R.D.,Georgia State University | Young L.J.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Young L.J.,Emory University | Hopkins W.D.,Georgia State University | Hopkins W.D.,Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Psychophysiology | Year: 2016

The current study aimed to systematically investigate genetic and neuroanatomical correlates of individual variation in scratching behaviors, a well-validated animal-behavioral indicator of negative emotional states with clear links to the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) response to potential harm ("anxiety") construct within the Negative Valence Systems domain. Utilizing data from a sample of 76 captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), we (a) examined the association between scratching and presence or absence of the RS3-containing DupB element in the AVPR1A 5' flanking region, (b) utilized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to identify gray matter (GM) voxel clusters that differentiated AVPR1A genotype, and (c) conducted a VBM-guided voxel-of-interest analysis to examine the association between GM intensity and scratching. AVPR1A evidenced sexually dimorphic associations with scratching. VBM analyses revealed significant differences in GM by genotype across twelve clusters largely in the frontal cortex. Regions differentiating AVPR1A genotype showed sex-specific associations with scratching. Results suggest that sexually dimorphic associations between AVPR1A and scratching may be explained by genotype-specific neuroanatomical variation. The current study provides an example of the way in which chimpanzee research is uniquely poised for multilevel, systematic investigations of psychopathology-relevant constructs within the context of the RDoC framework. © 2016 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Bruner E.,National Research Center sobre la Evolucion Humana | Preuss T.M.,Emory University | Preuss T.M.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Chen X.,Emory University | And 2 more authors.
Brain Structure and Function | Year: 2016

The evolution of neurocranial morphology in Homo sapiens is characterized by bulging of the parietal region, a feature unique to our species. In modern humans, expansion of the parietal surface occurs during the first year of life, in a morphogenetic stage which is absent in chimpanzees and Neandertals. A similar variation in brain shape among living adult humans is associated with expansion of the precuneus. Using MRI-derived structural brain templates, we compare medial brain morphology between humans and chimpanzees through shape analysis and geometrical modeling. We find that the main spatial difference is a prominent expansion of the precuneus in our species, providing further evidence of evolutionary changes associated with this area. The precuneus is a major hub of brain organization, a central node of the default-mode network, and plays an essential role in visuospatial integration. Together, the comparative neuroanatomical and paleontological evidence suggest that precuneus expansion is a neurological specialization of H. sapiens that evolved in the last 150,000 years that may be associated with recent human cognitive specializations. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Smith A.L.,Emory University | Smith A.L.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Freeman S.M.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Stehouwer J.S.,Emory University | And 4 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2012

Compounds 1-4 were synthesized and investigated for selectivity and potency for the oxytocin receptor (OTR) to determine their viability as radioactive ligands. Binding assays determined 1-4 to have high binding affinity for both the human and rodent OTR and also have high selectivity for the human OTR over human vasopressin V1a receptors (V1aR). Inadequate selectivity for OTR over V1aR was found for rodent receptors in all four compounds. The radioactive (C-11, F-18, and I-125) derivatives of 1-4 were synthesized and investigated for use as autoradiography and positron emission tomography (PET) ligands. Receptor autoradiography performed with [ 125I]1 and [ 125I]2 on rodent brain slices provided the first small molecule radioligand images of the OTR and V1aR. Biodistribution studies determined [ 125I]1 and [ 125I]2 were adequate for in vivo peripheral investigations, but not for central investigations due to low uptake within the brain. A biodistribution study with [ 18F]3 suggested brain uptake occurred slowly over time. PET imaging studies with [ 18F]3 and [ 11C]4 using a rat model provided insufficient uptake in the brain over a 90 and 45 min scan times respectively to merit further investigations in non-human primates. © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Barrett C.E.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Barrett C.E.,Yerkes National Primate Research Center | Keebaugh A.C.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Keebaugh A.C.,Yerkes National Primate Research Center | And 8 more authors.
Hormones and Behavior | Year: 2013

Polymorphisms in noncoding regions of the vasopressin 1a receptor gene (Avpr1a) are associated with a variety of socioemotional characteristics in humans, chimpanzees, and voles, and may impact behavior through a site-specific variation in gene expression. The socially monogamous prairie vole offers a unique opportunity to study such neurobiological control of individual differences in complex behavior. Vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR) signaling is necessary for the formation of the pair bond in males, and prairie voles exhibit greater V1aR binding in the reward-processing ventral pallidum than do asocial voles of the same genus. Diversity in social behavior within prairie voles has been correlated to natural variation in neuropeptide receptor expression in specific brain regions. Here we use RNA interference to examine the causal relationship between intraspecific variation in V1aR and behavioral outcomes, by approximating the degree of naturalistic variation in V1aR expression. Juvenile male prairie voles were injected with viral vectors expressing shRNA sequences targeting Avpr1a mRNA into the ventral pallidum. Down-regulation of pallidal V1aR density resulted in a significant impairment in the preference for a mated female partner and a reduction in anxiety-like behavior in adulthood. No effect on alloparenting was detected. These data demonstrate that within-species naturalistic-like variation in V1aR expression has a profound effect on individual differences in social attachment and emotionality. RNA interference may prove to be a useful technique to unite the fields of behavioral ecology and neurogenetics to perform ethologically relevant studies of the control of individual variation and offer insight into the evolutionary mechanisms leading to behavioral diversity. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Smith A.L.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Smith A.L.,Emory University | Freeman S.M.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Voll R.J.,Emory University | And 2 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2013

Compound L-368,899 was successfully alkylated with [11C] iodomethane to generate the oxytocin receptor selective (2R)-2-amino-N-((2S)-7, 7-dimethyl-1-(((4-(o-tolyl)piperazin-1-yl)sulfonyl)methyl)bicyclo[2.2.1] heptan-2-yl)-N-[11C]methyl-3-(methylsulfonyl)propanamide ([ 11C]1) with very high radiochemical purity and high specific activity. PET imaging studies were performed with [11C]1 to investigate brain penetration and oxytocin receptor uptake using rat and cynomolgus monkey models. For rat baseline scans, brain penetration was observed with [11C]1, but no specific uptake could be distinguished in the brain region. By administering a peptide oxytocin receptor selective antagonist for peripheral blocking of oxytocin receptors, the uptake of [11C]1 was amplified in the rat brain temporarily to enable some visual uptake within the rat brain. A baseline scan of [11C]1 in a cynomolgus monkey model resulted in no detectable specific uptake in anticipated regions, but activity did accumulate in the choroid plexus. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Numan M.,Rio Rancho | Young L.J.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience
Hormones and Behavior | Year: 2016

This article is part of a Special Issue "Parental Care". Mother-infant bonding is a characteristic of virtually all mammals. The maternal neural system may have provided the scaffold upon which other types of social bonds in mammals have been built. For example, most mammals exhibit a polygamous mating system, but monogamy and pair bonding between mating partners occur in ~ 5% of mammalian species. In mammals, it is plausible that the neural mechanisms that promote mother-infant bonding have been modified by natural selection to establish the capacity to develop a selective bond with a mate during the evolution of monogamous mating strategies. Here we compare the details of the neural mechanisms that promote mother-infant bonding in rats and other mammals with those that underpin pair bond formation in the monogamous prairie vole. Although details remain to be resolved, remarkable similarities and a few differences between the mechanisms underlying these two types of bond formation are revealed. For example, amygdala and nucleus accumbens-ventral pallidum (NA-VP) circuits are involved in both types of bond formation, and dopamine and oxytocin actions within NA appear to promote the synaptic plasticity that allows either infant or mating partner stimuli to persistently activate NA-VP attraction circuits, leading to an enduring social attraction and bonding. Further, although the medial preoptic area is essential for maternal behavior, its role in pair bonding remains to be determined. Our review concludes by examining the broader implications of this comparative analysis, and evidence is provided that the maternal care system may have also provided the basic neural foundation for other types of strong social relationships, beyond pair bonding, in mammals, including humans. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Smith A.L.,Emory University | Smith A.L.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Freeman S.M.,Center for Translational Social Neuroscience | Voll R.J.,Emory University | And 2 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2013

The compound 1-(1-(2-(2-(2-fluoroethoxy)-4-(piperidin-4-yloxy)phenyl) acetyl)piperidin-4-yl)-3,4-dihydroquinolin-2(1H)-one (1) was synthesized and positively evaluated in vitro for high potency and selectivity with human oxytocin receptors. The positron emitting analogue, [F-18]1, was synthesized and investigated in vivo via PET imaging using rat and cynomolgus monkey models. PET imaging studies in female Sprague-Dawley rats suggested [F-18]1 reached the brain and accumulated in various regions of the brain, but washed out too rapidly for adequate quantification and localization. In vivo PET imaging studies in a male cynomolgus monkey suggested [F-18]1 had limited brain penetration while specific uptake of radioactivity significantly accumulated within the vasculature of the cerebral ventricles in areas representative of the choroid plexus. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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