Abstract # 190:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 23 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


K. J. Hinde1,2, N. Maninger1, S. P. Mendoza1,3, W. A. Mason1, G. B. Wang4, S. L. Cherry4,5 and K. L. Bales1,3
1California National Primate Research Center, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 3Department of Psychology, UC Davis, 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, UC Davis, 5Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging, UC Davis
     Titi monkeys form strong pair-bonds, characterized by selective preference for their partner, mate guarding, and physiological and behavioral agitation upon separation, and social buffering. Here we investigate the neurobiological changes that underpin such pair-bond formation in adult male titi monkeys. We measured changes in D1 receptor binding potential (BP) in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), ventral pallidum (VP), and caudate-putamen (CP) in reproductively naïve males before and after forming a monogamous pair-bond. These regions are part of the dopaminergic reward system, previously implicated in pair-bond formation in monogamous rodents. PET imaging was conducted to measure the dynamic activity of radiolabelled SCH23390 ligand, a D1 dopamine receptor antagonist, in the ‘alone’ condition and then 4-8 weeks following pairing for experimental subjects (N=7) and age-matched controls (N=6). SCH23390 BP increased slightly in the NAcc of experimentally paired males compared to control males that remained alone (t=2.0, p=0.08). Control subjects were subsequently paired, allowing a within subjects comparison. Following pairing, SCH23390 BP significantly increased in the CP (t=-2.59, p=0.027), a region that is important for locomotion and mounting behavior, and in humans has been implicated in romantic attachment. These results differ somewhat from previous research in rodent models and highlight that a non-human primate model is invaluable for further understanding the neural mechanisms underpinning pair-bonds. This research funded by the Good Nature Institute, NIH RR00169 and HD053555.