Prefrontal and Accumbal Electric Activity during Auditory Stimulation in Virgin Female Rats: Changes Related to the Estrous Cycle


The estrous cycle is a physiological process modulated by hormonal changes associated, in turn, with alterations of the attraction or sensitivity with which females perceive different sensory stimuli. Auditory stimuli play an important role in the social interaction of several mammals, including their sexual behavior and the mother-young relationship. Since the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (Acc) had been associated with the processing and assignation of the incentive value of stimuli, this study was designed to analyze whether electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in the PFC and Acc was modified during the two antagonist phases of the estrous cycle (proestrus-estrus and diestrus) when female rats heard sound recordings with different types of cries emitted by other rats. EEGs were recorded in eight female virgin Wistar rats, 80-100 days old, bilaterally implanted in the PFC and Acc during an awake-quiet state, in three conditions: when hearing 1) cries of pups; 2) cries of adult male rats; and, 3) cries of adult female rats. The cries were recorded from pups (2-10 days old) and male and female adult rats after gentle prodding by a human hand. Each auditory stimulus (which included vocalizations up to 22 kHz) was randomly played back through a speaker placed near the female rats. Only upon perceiving the cries of male rats did the females in the proestrus-estrous phase show a lower relative power in the 14-30 Hz band in the Acc and an increased inter-prefrontal correlation in the 8-13 Hz band. It is probable that these EEG changes are associated with the lower activation or non-anxious state that the female rat presents specifically during the proestrus-estrous phase in response to the alarm cries of adult male rats.

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M. Hernández-González, D. Chapa García Abascal, M. Guevara, R. Romero Orozco, M. Almanza Sepúlveda and L. Flores Mancilla, "Prefrontal and Accumbal Electric Activity during Auditory Stimulation in Virgin Female Rats: Changes Related to the Estrous Cycle," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2013, pp. 454-462. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.36047.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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