Gromov V.S. 2022. Effects of paternal deprivation in social rodents // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.21. No.2. P.123–138 [in English].

Vladimir S. Gromov [], A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky pr. 33, Moscow 119071, Russia.

doi: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.21.2.03

ABSTRACT. The article concerns the effects of paternal deprivation in social rodents (California mice, Mongolian gerbils, mandarin and prairie voles and degus) whose social organizations are characterized by a family-group lifestyle and biparental care. Paternal deprivation was found to have a dramatic effect on pup survival (e.g. in California mice), as well as negatively affect pair bonding and adult parental behavior in other social rodents. Paternal deprivation resulted in reduction of central expression of some steroid and neuropeptide receptors in offspring. Besides, paternal deprivation was found to alter the regional density as well as the homoeostatic balance of distinct interneuron populations in an age- and brain region-specific manner; it also affects maturation of excitatory spine synapses in prefrontal cortical and limbic regions. The father-deprived individuals showed the behavioral differences resulted from altered brain circuits. As a result, cognitive and emotional competence might be essentially changed in father-deprived animals. These findings indicate the importance of paternal care and paternal bonding as a unique source of sensory and socio-emotional stimuli, which may protect the offspring from developing an increased vulnerability towards stress-related life events.

KEY WORDS: rodents, biparental care, paternal deprivation.

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