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Nonapeptide influences on social behaviour: effects of vasotocin and isotocin on shoaling and interaction in zebrafish

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Nonapeptides are important regulators of social behaviour across vertebrate taxa. While their role in simple grouping behaviour has been explored in estrildid finches, other taxa are understudied, prompting us to investigate nonapeptide influences on shoaling behaviour in zebrafish. Subjects received injections of isotocin, an isotocin antagonist, vasotocin, a vasotocin antagonist, or saline, followed by a test of grouping behaviour. Vasotocin decreased social interaction with the shoal. Unexpectedly, the vasotocin antagonist also reduced social interaction with the shoal, as well as general shoaling behaviour. Isotocin and its antagonist had minimal effects on grouping behaviours. These results suggest social interaction and shoaling are discrete aspects of sociality differentially influenced by vasotocin, although we cannot discount possible anxiogenic effects of vasotocin. Contrasting these results with studies in other systems demonstrates that each nonapeptide’s role in social behaviour varies across taxa, and cautions against a simplistic characterisation of nonapeptides as prosocial regulators of behaviour.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Biology and Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

10.1163/1568539X-00003261
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003261
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2015-05-29
2018-11-16

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