Meeting Abstract

S9-10  Sunday, Jan. 8 14:00 - 14:30  The influence of family dynamics on developmental trajectories and modulation of social behavior in prairie voles KELLY, Aubrey*; OPHIR, Alexander; Cornell University; Cornell University

The nonapeptides vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) are two of the most important influences on the social brain, and are known to modulate a wide variety of social behaviors including pair bonding and affiliation, social recognition, aggression, and anxiety-like behavior. Surprisingly, little is known about the functional development of the nonapeptide system and the influence of the early life family environment on the social brain and behavior. In order to investigate early social functioning of VP and OT cell groups, we examine the response of nonapeptide neurons in prairie vole pups (Microtus ochrogaster; a socially monogamous and biparental rodent) to parental separation at different ages across early development. In addition, although there is extensive data examining the effects of maternal separation on pup development, there is extremely little data investigating the effects of paternal deprivation on the development of social behavior. In order to examine the impact of paternal care on development of social behavior, we raised pups in biparental or single mother families. Once pups reached adulthood, they were tested for various social behaviors including social approach and recognition, dominance behavior, and pair bonding. Lastly, because separation from one or both parents should impact both the offspring and the parents, we examined the effects of offspring separation on VP-OT responses in mothers and fathers and the impact of being a single parent on maternal behavior.