Offre de thèse

Oxytocin in early feeding behavior.

Période :   au

This project aims to understand the role of oxytocin in the suckling activity in normal mouse and pathological mouse models of neurodevelopmental diseases.

Key words: neurodevelopment, pathology, feeding, suckling, sucking.


From birth, mammals have to find food to ensure growth and survival. Suckling must be initiated quickly after birth and then maintained and controlled. It is a complex process involving interactions between sensory and motor neuronal pathways. The development of these circuits is disturbed in a variety of developmental disorders leading to long-term metabolic, behavioural and cognitive dysfunctions. Interestingly, we showed in a genetic mouse model of a neurodevelopmental disorder, involving the MAGEL2 gene, that oxytocin is required to trigger the suckling activity.
· This project aims to understand the role of oxytocin in the suckling activity in normal mouse and pathological mouse models of neurodevelopmental diseases. We want to decipher the neuronal circuitry and mechanism by which oxytocin activates the suckling initiation and maintenance. We will investigate the therapeutic action of oxytocin treatment on early feeding behavior.
· We will perform an integrative study and use behavioral, electrophysiological, cellular and functional neuroanatomical analyses to trace the neuronal circuit of suckling involving the oxytocin neurons, to decipher the action of oxytocin on motor pathways and to assess the therapeutic action of an early oxytocin treatment. We will conduct this project thanks to a panel of genetic and pharmacogenetic tools.
Our preliminary results and technical tools have shown the feasibility of this project. We expect to bring to light the important and not studied role of oxytocin in suckling activity and in the meantime to understand how suckling activity, is controlled. Today, this has been very poorly studied however it is a vital process that is altered in 80% of infants with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Nature de finanement

Autre financement

Profil recherché

The candidate should be motivated by the topic, curious and interested to perform neurodevelopment studies in mouse models. Knowledge in physiology, neurodevelopment process, neuroanatomy is required.


Inmed is one of the most important neuroscience research centers in France. It is a joint Inserm – Aix-Marseille University structure, directed by Rosa Cossart. The main research topics are brain development and plasticity, as well as associated neurological pathologies.
The 130 researchers, teacher-researchers and engineers, of international origin, are divided into 9 teams, financed by the European community, the PACA region, foundations and associations (FRC, FRM). See : Science at Inmed | Inmed.
It has state-of-the-art platforms in functional imaging and in molecular and cellular biology.
Inmed is a place where sharing means, know-how, resources and equipment leads to the emergence of collaborations. These exchanges allow for multidisciplinary approaches, conducive to innovative discoveries.
The Institute is located in Marseille in the prestigious Luminy site, in the Parc National des Calanques. The 5200 m² building, offers an original and unique working environment.

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