Neurochemical regulation of pair bonding
in male prairie voles

Wang Z, Aragona BJ.
Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience,
Florida State University,
Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.
Physiol Behav. 2004 Nov 15;83(2):319-28


Pair bonding represents social attachment between mates and is common among monogamous animals. The prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) is a monogamous rodent in which mating facilitates pair bond formation. In this review, we first discuss how prairie voles have been used as an excellent model for neurobiological studies of pair bonding. We then primarily focus on male prairie voles to summarize recent findings from neuroanatomical, neurochemical, cellular, molecular, and behavioral studies implicating vasopressin (AVP), oxytocin (OT), and dopamine (DA) in the regulation of pair bonding. Possible interactions among these neurochemicals in the regulation of pair bonding, the brain areas important for pair bond formation, and potential sexually dimorphic mechanisms underlying pair bonding are also discussed. As analogous social bonds are formed by humans, investigation of the neurochemical regulation of pair bond formation in prairie voles may be beneficial for our understanding of the mechanisms associated with normal and abnormal social behaviors in humans.
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