From here to paternity: Neural correlates of the onset of paternal behavior in California mice (Peromyscus californicus).

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a minority of mammalian species, including humans, fathers play a significant role in infant care. Compared to maternal behavior, the neural and hormonal bases of paternal care are poorly understood. We analyzed behavioral, neuronal and neuropeptide responses towards unfamiliar pups in biparental California mice, comparing males housed with another male (“virgin males”) or with a female before (“paired males”) or after (“new fathers”) the birth of their first litter. New fathers approached pups more rapidly and spent more time engaging in paternal behavior than virgin males. In each cage housing two virgin males, one was spontaneously paternal and one was not. New fathers and paired males spent more time sniffing and touching a wire mesh ball containing a newborn pup than virgin males. Only new fathers showed significantly increased Fos-like immunoreactivity in the medial preoptic nucleus (MPO) following exposure to a pup-containing ball, as compared to an empty ball. Moreover, Fos
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-231
JournalHormones and Behavior
StatePublished - May 9 2009

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