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The Lab For neurobiology of social behavior

Neuronal mechanisms underlying cognitive and emotional impairments caused by social isolation

Social species are defined by forming and relying on social structures that are greater and more meaningful than the individual. Being amongst the most social species on earth, social relationships are a crucial part of human lives, and have a significant impact on our health. While positive social relationships are protective for health, accumulating evidence suggest that weak social relationships are associated with a wide variety of adverse health outcomes. In the past few decades, social isolation has been recognized as a risk factor for broad-based morbidity and mortality. Interestingly, social isolation was shown to be a stronger risk factor than smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and high blood pressure (House et al. 1988). Others and we have found that long-term social recognition memory of rodents is abolished by acute social isolation. We use in vivo electrophysiology, molecular methodologies and next-generation sequencing in order to reveal the mechanisms underlying the impairing effect of social isolation on social recognition memory of rats and mice. We believe that these experiments will pave the way for the development of efficient interventions that will alleviate the destructive influence of social isolation on Human health.