Establishment of stable dominance interactions in prairie vole peers: Relationships with alcohol drinking and activation of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus

Allison M.J. Anacker, Monique L. Smith, Andrey E. Ryabinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dominance hierarchies are an important aspect of group-living as they determine individual access to resources. The existence of dominance ranks in access to space has not been described in socially monogamous, communally nesting prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Here, we tested whether dominance could be assessed using the tube test. We also tested whether dominance related to alcohol intake, similar to what has been demonstrated in nonmonogamous species. Same-sex pairs of unfamiliar peers were tested in a series of three trials of the tube test, then paired and allowed individual access to alcohol and water for 4 days, and then tested again in the tube test. For all pairs, the same subjects won the majority of trials before and after alcohol drinking. The number of wins negatively correlated with alcohol intake on the first day of drinking and positively correlated with levels of Fos in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus following the tube test in a separate group of voles. Dominance was not related to Fos levels in other brain regions examined. Together, these results indicate that prairie voles quickly establish stable dominance ranks through a process possibly involving the hypothalamus and suggest that dominance is linked to alcohol drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-494
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • CRF
  • Oxytocin
  • Stress
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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