• Journal Article

Both oxytocin and vasopressin may influence alloparental behavior in male prairie voles


Bales, K. L., Kim, A. J., Lewis-Reese, A. D., & Carter Porges, C. (2004). Both oxytocin and vasopressin may influence alloparental behavior in male prairie voles. Hormones and Behavior, 45(5), 354-361. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2004.01.004


Neuropeptides, especially oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP), have been implicated in several features of monogamy including alloparenting. The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of OT and AVP in alloparental behavior in reproductively naive male prairie voles. Males received intracerebroventricular (ICV) injections of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF), OT, an OT receptor antagonist (OTA), AVP, an AVP receptor antagonist (AVPA), or combinations of OTA and AVPA and were subsequently tested for parental behavior. Approximately 45 min after treatment, animals were tested for behavioral responses to stimulus pups. In a 10-min test, spontaneous alloparental behavior was high in control animals. OT and AVP did not significantly increase the number of males that showed parental behavior, although more subtle behavioral changes were observed. Combined treatment with AVPA and OTA (10 ng each) significantly reduced male parental behavior and increased attacks; following a lower dose (1 ng OTA/1 ng AVPA), males were less likely to display kyphosis and tended to be slower to approach pups than controls. Since treatment with only one antagonist did not interfere with the expression of alloparenting, these results suggest that access to either OT or AVP receptors may be sufficient for the expression of alloparenting. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved