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Social creatures: model animal systems for studying the neuroendocrine mechanisms of social behaviour

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Kelly J. Robinson, Oliver J. Bosch, Gil Levkowitz, Karl Emanuel Busch, Andrew Jarman, Mike Ludwig

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The interaction of animals with conspecifics, termed social behaviour, has a major impact on the survival of many vertebrate species. Neuropeptide hormones modulate the underlying physiology that governs social interactions, and many findings concerning the neuroendocrine mechanisms of social behaviours have been extrapolated from animal models to humans. Neurones expressing neuropeptides show similar distribution patterns within the hypothalamic nucleus, even when evolutionarily distant species are compared. During evolution, hypothalamic neuropeptides and releasing hormones have retained not only their structures, but also their biological functions, including their effects on behaviour. Here, we review the current understanding of the mechanisms of social behaviours in several classes of animals, such as worms, insects and fish, as well as laboratory, wild and domesticated mammals.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12807
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number12
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2019

    Research areas

  • Model animals, Neuropeptides, Oxytocin, Social behaviours

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