Brief pup exposure induces Fos expression in the lateral habenula and serotonergic caudal dorsal raphe nucleus of paternally experienced male California mice (Peromyscus californicus).

Trynke R De Jong, Kevin R Measor, Miyetani Chauke, Breanna Harris, Wendy Saltzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Fathers play a substantial role in infant care in a small but significant number of mammalian species, including humans. However, the neural circuitry controlling paternal behavior is much less understood than its female counterpart. In order to characterize brain areas activated by paternal care, male California mice were separated from their female mate and litter for 3 h and then exposed to a pup or a control object (a glass pebble with the approximate size and oblong shape of a newborn pup) for 10 min. All males receiving a pup showed a strong paternal response towards it, whereas males receiving a pebble interacted with it only occasionally. Despite the clear behavioral differences, exposure to a pup did not increase Fos-like immunoreactivity (Fos-LIR) compared to a pebble in brain areas previously found to be associated with parental care, including the medial preoptic nucleus and medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Pup exposure did, however, significantly increase Fos-L
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1094-1104
StatePublished - 2010


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