High social motivation induces deficits in maternal behavior but not plasticity of the subventricular zone in Japanese quail ( Coturnix japonica )

Abstract : Maternal behaviour develops differently depending on the characteristics of an individual, such as age or emotional reactivity. Social motivation, defined as the propensity to establish social contact, has received little attention in relation to maternal behaviour in birds. In addition, the transition to motherhood is a time of plasticity in the brain of the new mother in mammals. However, it remains to be determined how maternal brain plasticity is affected in avian species. The present study investigated how a the social motivation of a mother alters maternal behaviour and brain plasticity of the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Adult females from lines selected for high and low social motivation were exposed to chicks for 11 days. After maternal care testing, and at matched time points in controls, the brains of females were perfused for assessment of doublecortin-immunoreactive staining, a marker of neurogenesis, in the subventricular zone (SVZ), a neurogenic niche. The results obtained showed that high socially motivated female quail spent significantly less time performing maternal behaviour when exposed to chicks compared to low socially motivated females. Moreover, the warming of chicks by high socially motivated females involved less covering postures and mothers were more rejecting of chicks. Interestingly, the plasticity indicators in the SVZ did not differ between low and high socially motivated females and were not associated with differences in maternal caregiving when using doublecortin-immunoreactive staining. Thus, high social motivation in this avian species does not favour maternal behaviour and this level of motivation to the mother is not related to changes in neuroplasticity in the SVZ of the female quail.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 19, 2019 - 3:56:43 PM
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Sophie Lumineau, Jodi Pawluski, Thierry Charlier, Amandine Beylard, Nadège Aigueperse, et al.. High social motivation induces deficits in maternal behavior but not plasticity of the subventricular zone in Japanese quail ( Coturnix japonica ). Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Wiley, 2019, pp.e12716. ⟨10.1111/jne.12716⟩. ⟨hal-02088773⟩

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