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Arginine vasopressin plasma levels change seasonally in African striped mice but do not differ between alternative reproductive tactics


Schoepf, Ivana; Schradin, Carsten (2014). Arginine vasopressin plasma levels change seasonally in African striped mice but do not differ between alternative reproductive tactics. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 204:43-48.

Abstract

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) is an important hormone for osmoregulation, while as a neuropeptide in the brain it plays an important role in the regulation of social behaviors. Dry habitats are often the home of obligately sociable species such as meerkats and Damaraland mole-rats, leading to the hypothesis that high plasma AVP levels needed for osmoregulation might be associated with the regulation of social behavior. We tested this in a facultative sociable species, the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio). During the moist breeding season, both solitary- and group-living reproductive tactics occur in this species, which is obligatory sociable in the dry season. We collected 196 plasma samples from striped mice following different reproductive tactics both during the moist and the dry season. Solitary mice did not have lower AVP levels than sociable mice, rejecting the hypothesis that peripheral AVP is involved in the regulation of alternative reproductive tactics. However, we found significantly higher AVP levels during the dry season, with AVP levels correlated with the abundance of food plants, the main source of water for striped mice. Plasma AVP levels were not correlated with testosterone or corticosterone levels. Our study underlines the important role that AVP plays in osmoregulation, particularly for a free ranging mammal living under harsh arid conditions.

Abstract

Arginine vasopressin (AVP) is an important hormone for osmoregulation, while as a neuropeptide in the brain it plays an important role in the regulation of social behaviors. Dry habitats are often the home of obligately sociable species such as meerkats and Damaraland mole-rats, leading to the hypothesis that high plasma AVP levels needed for osmoregulation might be associated with the regulation of social behavior. We tested this in a facultative sociable species, the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio). During the moist breeding season, both solitary- and group-living reproductive tactics occur in this species, which is obligatory sociable in the dry season. We collected 196 plasma samples from striped mice following different reproductive tactics both during the moist and the dry season. Solitary mice did not have lower AVP levels than sociable mice, rejecting the hypothesis that peripheral AVP is involved in the regulation of alternative reproductive tactics. However, we found significantly higher AVP levels during the dry season, with AVP levels correlated with the abundance of food plants, the main source of water for striped mice. Plasma AVP levels were not correlated with testosterone or corticosterone levels. Our study underlines the important role that AVP plays in osmoregulation, particularly for a free ranging mammal living under harsh arid conditions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 15:06
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:32
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0016-6480
Funders:SNF
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.05.002
PubMed ID:24842715

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