Behavioral and mesocorticolimbic dopamine responses to non aggressive social interactions depend on previous social experiences and on the opponent's sex

Simona Cabib, Francesca R. D'Amato, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra, Dario Maestripieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In these experiments we evaluated the relationship between behavioral and brain dopamine (DA) responses to social interactions. Subjects were group housed male mice confronted with a non aggressive male or female conspecific following either repeated defeat (defeated) or repeated non aggressive experiences (social). Defeated mice showed more defensive/submissive reactions then mice of the social group regardless of the opponent sex. However, mice defeated by females showed reduced social exploration without significant differences in non social exploration whilst the opposite was true for mice defeated by male opponents. Non aggressive social interactions enhanced dopamine metabolism in the prefrontal cortex (pFC) of DEFEATED mice regardless of opponent sex. However, only mice defeated by females showed enhanced dopamine metabolism and release in the nucleus accumbens septi (NAS) and olfactory tubercle (OT) following interaction with the non aggressive opponent. Finally, correlation between central and behavioral responses evidenced that 3,4-dihydroxiphenilacetic acid levels in the pFC were positively correlated with defensive behaviors and negatively correlated with non social exploration in mice confronted with male opponents but not in those confronted with females. The latter, showed a significant positive correlation between 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT) levels in the OT and defensive responses and significant negative correlation between social investigation and 3-MT levels in the OT and in the NAS. These results indicate a strict relationship between mesocorticolimbic dopamine transmission and behavior responses to social cues. Moreover, they strongly support the view that mesocorticolimbic DA modulates social behavior by affecting perceptive processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume112
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Defense
  • Fear
  • Learning
  • Motivation
  • Social behavior
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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