Poster Presentation The International Congress of Neuroendocrinology 2014

Olfaction, social behavior, and Arginine Vasopressin in California mice (P. californicus) (#268)

Janet K Bester-Meredith 1 , Grace E Mammarella 1 , Alexandrea M Garcia 1 , Melissa E Rowe 1 , Brett A Megrath 1
  1. Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, United States

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) and its homologues have been implicated in the regulation of social behavior in both mammalian and non-mammalian species. In the monogamous California mouse, AVP has been associated with a diverse array of behaviors, including maternal care, paternal care, and resident-intruder aggression. In this study, we investigated whether olfactory information is necessary for California mice to show species-typical patterns of social behavior that are associated with AVP pathways. Intranasal injections of zinc gluconate were used to impair olfaction in California mice of both sexes and resulted in an increased latency to find a hidden treat in comparison to animals receiving intranasal injections of water. Treatment also caused a trend toward decreased ability to discriminate between clean bedding and bedding that had been soiled by unfamiliar males. Male mice also showed a trend toward longer attack latencies after zinc gluconate treatment, suggesting that impaired olfaction may alter social behavior. As a first step in examining whether AVP can reverse social deficits after impairment of olfaction, we tested whether intracerebroventricular injections of AVP and its antagonists altered social behavior in mice with normal olfaction. Preliminary results suggest that vasopressin increases the attack latency of maternal females in a resident-intruder test. The combination of these results indicates that social behavior in California mice can be altered by manipulating olfactory input or AVP itself within the brain.