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Genes Brain Behav. 2011 Apr;10(3):375-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2010.00677.x. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Intranasal vasopressin affects pair bonding and peripheral gene expression in male Callicebus cupreus.

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Psychology Department, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Arginine vasopressin (AVP) is a neuropeptide hormone and neurotransmitter that has peripheral functions in water regulation, and central functions in the stress response and social bonding in male rodents. In this study, we investigated the role of AVP in partner preference behavior in a monogamous primate, the coppery titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus). Seven titi males each received three intranasal treatments: saline, low AVP (40 IU) and high AVP (80 IU) in random order, 1 week apart. They experienced a series of stimulus exposures to their female partner, a female stranger and an empty cage. Males were more likely to contact the stimulus and do so faster when either female stimulus was present. When pretreated with saline, males contacted the stranger more frequently than their partner; when pretreated with the high dosage of AVP, males contacted their partner more frequently than the stranger. We used microarray to measure peripheral changes in gene expression associated with intranasal AVP and found reduced expression of several genes coding for proinflammatory cytokines. The data presented here suggest that intranasally administered AVP has both central influences on social behavior and peripheral influences on inflammation in a nonhuman primate.

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