Dopamine modulates social behaviour in cooperatively breeding fish.

F Antunes, Diogo; Soares, Marta C; Taborsky, Michael (2022). Dopamine modulates social behaviour in cooperatively breeding fish. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 550, p. 111649. Elsevier Ireland 10.1016/j.mce.2022.111649

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Dopamine is part of the reward system triggering the social decision-making network in the brain. It has hence great potential importance in the regulation of social behaviour, but its significance in the control of behaviour in highly social animals is currently limited. We studied the role of the dopaminergic system in social decision-making in the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish, Neolamprologus pulcher, by blocking or stimulating the dopaminergic D1-like and D2-like receptors. We first tested the effects of different dosages and timing of administration on subordinate group members' social behaviour within the group in an unchallenging environment. In a second experiment we pharmacologically manipulated D1-like and D2-like receptors while experimentally challenging N. pulcher groups by presenting an egg predator, and by increasing the need for territory maintenance through digging out sand from the shelter. Our results show that the D1-like and D2-like receptor pathways are differently involved in the modulation of aggressive, submissive and affiliative behaviours. Interestingly, the environmental context seems particularly crucial regarding the role of the D2-like receptors in behavioural regulation of social encounters among group members, indicating a potential pathway in agonistic and cooperative interactions in a pay-to-stay scenario. We discuss the importance of environmental information in mediating the role of dopamine for the modulation of social behaviour.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Behavioural Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Fazenda Antunes, Diogo, Taborsky, Michael


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




Elsevier Ireland




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

19 Apr 2022 11:24

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:19

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Affiliation Cooperative breeding D1 receptors D2 receptors Dopamine Neolamprologus pulcher, aggression Pay-to-stay Social behaviour Submission




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