Corticotronpin-releasing hormone inhibits maternal behavior and induces pup-killing

Cort A. Pedersen, Jack D. Caldwell, Marsden McGuire, Dwight L. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Behavioral responses to stressors and the effects of stressors on maternal behavior change with mothering experience. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is released by stressors and produces stress-like behavioral effects. We tested the effects of ICV infusion of ovine CRH (0.5-4 ug) on pup-directed behaviors in ovariectomized, ovarian steroid-treated virgin rats that were either naive to pups or that had three days of mothering experience. CRH inhibited maternal behavior in naive and experience rats in a dose-related manner. The magnitude and duration of inhibition, especially at the 1 ug dose, were less in rats with mothering experience. Higher doses of CRH (1 - 4 ug) significantly increased pup-killing in rats that were naive to pups. In contrast, CRH produced no pup-killing in rats with mothering experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1537-1546
Number of pages10
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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