• Social Status and Arginine Vasotocin Neuronal Phenotypes in a Cichlid Fish.

Social Status and Arginine Vasotocin Neuronal Phenotypes in a Cichlid Fish.

Brain, behavior and evolution (2015-05-23)
Olinda Almeida, Rui F Oliveira

The nonapeptide arginine vasotocin (AVT) and its mammalian homologue arginine vasopressin play a key role in the regulation of social behaviour across vertebrates. In teleost fishes, three AVT neuronal populations have been described in the preoptic area (POA): the parvocellular (pPOA), the magnocellular (mPOA) and the gigantocellular (gPOA). Neurons from each of these areas project both to the pituitary and to other brain regions, where AVT is supposed to regulate neural circuits underlying social behaviour. However, in the fish species studied so far, there is considerable variation in which AVT neuronal populations are involved in behavioural modulation and in the direction of the effect. In this study, the association between AVT neuronal phenotypes and social status was investigated in the Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus). This species is an African female mouth-brooding cichlid fish in which males form breeding aggregations in which dominant males establish territories and subordinate males to act as floaters. With respect to sex differences in AVT neuronal phenotypes, females have a larger number of AVT neurons in the pPOA and mPOA. Within males, AVT appeared associated with social subordination, as indicated by the larger cell body areas of AVT neurons in mPOA and gPOA nuclei of non-territorial males. There were also positive correlations between submissive behaviour and the soma size of AVT cells in all three nuclei and AVT cell number in the mPOA. In summary, the results provide evidence for an involvement of AVT in the modulation of social behaviour in tilapia, but it was not possible to identify specific roles for specific AVT neuronal populations. The results presented here also contrast with those previously published for another cichlid species with a similar mating system, which highlights the species-specific nature of the pattern of association between AVT and social behaviour even within the same taxonomic family.

Product Number
Product Description

[Arg8]-Vasotocin acetate salt, ≥97% (HPLC)