Alexaveenema Sm 2017

Alexa Veenema vita

Associate Professor

PhD, Neuroscience, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 2003
MA, Biology, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 1997

Research Statement

Our lab explores the neural basis of social behavior. Specifically, our research focuses on understanding the roles of the neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin (as well as opioids and orexin) in regulating social behavior (such as social play, social novelty-seeking, social recognition, social investigation, and sociosexual motivation) and how this is modulated by sex, age, and early life stress. We use rats as model organisms and employ a combination of behavioral, molecular, biochemical, and pharmacological techniques to address our research questions.

Full list of our publications 

Google Scholar Citations

Related Programs

Selected Publications

  • Bredewold R, Nascimento NF, Ro GS, Cieslewski SE, Reppucci CJ and Veenema AH.
    Involvement of dopamine, but not norepinephrine, in the sex-specific regulation of juvenile socially rewarding behavior by vasopressin
    2018, NeuropsychopharmacologyMay 22. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0100-2. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Bredewold R and Veenema AH
    Sex differences in the regulation of social and anxiety-related behaviors: insights from vasopressin and oxytocin brain systems
    2018, Curr Opin Neurobiol., 49:132-140
  • Reppucci CJ, Gergely CK, Veenema AH.
    Activation patterns of vasopressinergic and oxytocinergic brain regions following social play exposure in juvenile male and female rats.
    2018, J Neuroendocrinol. 2018Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Smith CJW, Ratnaseelan AM, Veenema AH.
    Robust age, but limited sex, differences in mu-opioid receptors in the rat brain: relevance for reward and drug-seeking behaviors in juveniles.
    2018, Brain Struct Funct, 223:475-488
  • Smith CJW, Wilkins KB, Li S, Tulimieri M, Veenema AH
    Nucleus accumbens mu opioid receptors regulate context-specific social preferences in the juvenile rat
    2017, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 89:59-68
  • Raam T, McAvoy KM, Besnard A, Veenema AH, Sahay A.
    Hippocampal oxytocin receptors are necessary for discrimination of social stimuli.
    2017, Nat Commun, 8:2001
  • Hodges TE, Baumbach JL, Marcolin ML, Bredewold R, Veenema AH, McCormick CM.
    Social instability stress in adolescent male rats reduces social interaction and social recognition performance and increases oxytocin receptor binding.
    2017, Neuroscience, 359:172-182
  • Smith CJW, Mogavero JN, Tulimieri MT, Veenema AH
    Involvement of the oxytocin system in the nucleus accumbens in the regulation of juvenile social novelty-seeking behavior
    2017, Horm Behav, 93:94-98.
  • Dumais KM, Kulkarni PP, Ferris CF, Veenema AH
    Sex differences in neural activation following different routes of oxytocin administration in awake adult rats
    2017, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 81:52-62.
  • DiBenedictis BT, Nussbaum ER, Cheung HK, Veenema AH
    Quantitative mapping reveals age and sex differences in vasopressin, but not oxytocin, immunoreactivity in the rat social behavior neural network
    2017, J Comp Neurol, 525:2549-2570
  • Varian BJ, Poutahidis T, DiBenedictis BT, Levkovich T, Ibrahim Y, Didyk E, Shikhman L, Cheung HK, Hardas A, Ricciardi CE, Kolandaivelu K, Veenema AH, Alm EJ, Erdman SE
    Microbial lysate upregulates host oxytocin
    2017, Brain Behav Immun, 61:36-49
  • Smith CJ, Poehlmann ML, Li S, Ratnaseelan AM, Bredewold R, Veenema AH
    Age and sex differences in oxytocin and vasopressin V1a receptor binding densities in the rat brain: focus on the social decision-making network
    2017, Brain Struct Funct, 281:981-1006
  • Dumais KM, Alonso AG, Bredewold R, Veenema AH
    Role of the oxytocin system in amygdala subregions in the regulation of social interest in male and female rats
    2016, Neuroscience, 330:138-149
  • Dumais KM, Alonso AG, Immormino MA, Bredewold R, Veenema AH
    Involvement of the oxytocin system in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the sex-specific regulation of social recognition
    2016, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 64:79-88
  • Dumais KM, Veenema AH
    Presence and absence of sex differences in structure and function of the brain oxytocin system: Implications for understanding social behavior
    2016, In: Sex differences in the central nervous system (R. Shansky, editor). Academic Press247-295
  • Dumais KM, Veenema AH
    Vasopressin and oxytocin receptor systems in the brain: Sex differences and sex-specific regulation of social behavior
    2016, Front Neuroendocrinol, 40:1-23
  • Ferris CF, Yee JR, Kenkel WM, Dumais KM, Moore K, Veenema AH, Kulkarni P, Perkybile AM, Carter CS
    Distinct BOLD Activation Profiles Following Central and Peripheral Oxytocin Administration in Awake Rats
    2015, Front Behav Neurosci, 9:245
  • Bredewold R, Schiavo JK, van der Hart M, Verreij M, Veenema AH
    Dynamic changes in extracellular release of GABA and glutamate in the lateral septum during social play behavior in juvenile rats: Implications for sex-specific regulation of social play behavior
    2015, Neuroscience, 307:117-127
  • Smith CJ, Wilkins KB, Mogavero JN, Veenema AH
    Social Novelty Investigation in the Juvenile Rat: Modulation by the µ-Opioid System
    2015, J Neuroendocrinol, 27:(10)752-64
  • Bredewold R, Smith CJ, Dumais KM, Veenema AH
    Sex-specific modulation of juvenile social play behavior by vasopressin and oxytocin depends on social context
    2014, Front Behav Neurosci, 8:216
  • Dumais KM, Bredewold R, Mayer TE, Veenema AH
    Sex differences in oxytocin receptor binding in forebrain regions: correlations with social interest in brain region- and sex- specific ways
    2013, Horm Behav, 64:(4):693-701
  • Veenema AH, Bredewold R, De Vries GJ
    Sex-specific modulation of juvenile social play by vasopressin. Psychoneuroendocrinology
    2013, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38:(11):2554-61
  • Lukas M, Toth I, Veenema AH, Neumann ID
    Oxytocin mediates rodent social memory within the lateral septum and the medial amygdala depending on the relevance of the social stimulus: male juvenile versus female adult conspecifics
    2013, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38:(6):916-26
  • Taylor PV, Veenema AH, Paul MJ, Bredewold R, Isaacs S, de Vries GJ
    Sexually dimorphic effects of a prenatal immune challenge on social play and vasopressin expression in juvenile rats
    2012, Biol Sex Differ, 3:(1):15
  • Veenema AH
    Toward understanding how early-life social experiences alter oxytocin- and vasopressin-regulated social behaviors
    2012, Horm Behav, 61:(3):304-12
  • Veenema AH, Bredewold R, De Vries GJ
    Vasopressin regulates social recognition in juvenile and adult rats of both sexes, but in sex- and age-specific ways
    2012, Horm Behav, 61:(1):50-6
  • Veenema AH, Beiderbeck DI, Lukas M, Neumann ID
    Distinct correlations of vasopressin release within the lateral septum and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis with the display of intermale aggression
    2010, Horm Behav, 58:(2):273-81
  • Lukas M, Toth I, Reber SO, Slattery DA, Veenema AH, Neumann ID
    The neuropeptide oxytocin facilitates pro-social behavior and prevents social avoidance in rats and mice
    2011, Neuropsychopharmacology, 36:(11):2159-68
  • Lukas M, Bredewold R, Landgraf R, Neumann ID, Veenema AH
    Early life stress impairs social recognition due to a blunted response of vasopressin release within the septum of adult male rats
    2011, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36:(6):843-53
  • Lukas M, Bredewold R, Neumann ID, Veenema AH
    Maternal separation interferes with developmental changes in brain vasopressin and oxytocin receptor binding in male rats
    2010, Neuropharmacology, 58:(1):78-87
  • Veenema AH
    Early life stress, the development of aggression and neuroendocrine and neurobiological correlates: what can we learn from animal models?
    2009, Front Neuroendocrinol, 30:(4):497-518
  • Veenema AH, Neumann ID
    Maternal separation enhances offensive play-fighting, basal corticosterone and hypothalamic vasopressin mRNA expression in juvenile male rats
    2009, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34:(3):463-7
  • Veenema AH, Neumann ID
    Central vasopressin and oxytocin release: regulation of complex social behaviours
    2008, Prog Brain Res, 170:261-276
  • more publications