The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an important model for studying the genetics of ageing, with over 50 life-extension mutations known so far. However, little is known about the pathobiology of ageing in this species, limiting attempts to connect genotype with senescent phenotype. Using ultrastructural analysis and visualization of specific cell types with green fluorescent protein, we examined cell integrity in different tissues as the animal ages.
The neural correlates of many emotional states have been studied, most recently through the technique of fMRI. However, nothing is known about the neural substrates involved in evoking one of the most overwhelming of all affective states, that of romantic love, about which we report here. The activity in the brains of 17 subjects who were deeply in love was scanned using fMRI, while they viewed pictures of their partners, and compared with the activity produced by viewing pictures of three friends of similar age, sex and duration of friendship as their partners.
In these last years, emotions and feelings, such as attachment, couple and parental bonding and even love, typical of higher mammals, neglected for centuries by experimental sciences, have become the topic of extensive neuroscientific research in order to elucidate their biological mechanisms. Several observations have highlighted the role of monoamines and of neuropeptides, in particular oxytocin, vasopressin and opioids, but this is only the beginning of the story.
Romantic and maternal love are highly rewarding experiences. Both are linked to the perpetuation of the species and therefore have a closely linked biological function of crucial evolutionary importance. Yet almost nothing is known about their neural correlates in the human. We therefore used fMRI to measure brain activity in mothers while they viewed pictures of their own and of acquainted children, and of their best friend and of acquainted adults as additional controls.
Scientists have described myriad traits in mammalian and avian species that evolved to attract mates. But the brain mechanisms by which conspecifics become attracted to these traits is largely unknown. Yet mammals and birds express mate preferences and make mate choices, and data suggest that this "attraction system" is associated with the dopaminergic reward system. It has been proposed that intense romantic love, a cross-cultural universal, is a developed form of this attraction system.
Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research
Love and compassion exert pleasant feelings and rewarding effects. Besides their emotional role and capacity to govern behavior, appetitive motivation, and a general 'positive state', even 'spiritual' at times, the behaviors shown in love and compassion clearly rely on neurobiological mechanisms and underlying molecular principles. These processes and pathways involve the brain's limbic motivation and reward circuits, that is, a finely tuned and profound autoregulation.
This review presents an analysis of the sensory and motor mechanisms as they are now understood that cause the immobility reflex (IR). Of the sensory systems that conceivably could trigger and sustain the IR, as commonly induced experimentally by inversion and manual restraint, evidence has been presented to eliminate some senses (vestibular, vision, sound, many visceral sensations, olfaction, taste, temperature), while incriminating tactile and proprioceptive influences.