Endogenous opioids: A proximate reward mechanism for kin selection?

Francesca R. D'amato, Flaminia Pavone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The kin selection theory predicts that individuals would behave differently toward one another, depending on their genetic relatedness. Proximate mechanisms have been postulated to exist helping the individual to discriminate what is good or bad for him. Opioids have been discovered to be involved in the mediation of reinforcement, in particular they underlay social emotion. In this study it is shown that pain sensitivity decreased in male mice interacting with siblings following 2 months of separation; this analgesic response was antagonized by naloxone administration. Interaction with unknown and unrelated subjects did not change the nociceptive threshold. These results suggest that interacting with kin is an adaptive situation reinforced, at the neural level, by the release of endogenous opioids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral and Neural Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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