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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hormonal changes in males of a naturally biparental and a uniparental mammal.

Blood samples from male hamsters (Phodopus) during their mate's gestation and early lactation show that key hormones important in maternal behavior are also changing in males and differ for two closely related species with different levels of paternal care. Results of study 1 were consistent with a relationship between higher prolactin, lower testosterone and paternal behavior during early lactation in P. campbelli and provided no evidence for similar hormonal changes in P. sungorus. Study 2 sampled males before or after the birth. Prolactin did not increase until at least one day after the birth in P. campbelli but was high at the end of the pregnancy in P. sungorus. Increasing testosterone concentrations in P. campbelli as the birth approached were consistent with mate guarding, high testosterone concentrations on L5 were consistent with paternal aggression in defense of the litter, and the drop in testosterone after the birth was consistent with reduced aggression toward the new pups. Results confirmed that cortisol concentrations were reduced following the establishment of a pair-bond and found that P. campbelli males had elevated cortisol before the birth. Results support the hypothesis that mammalian paternal behavior has a hormonal basis which is analogous to maternal behavior.[1]


  1. Hormonal changes in males of a naturally biparental and a uniparental mammal. Reburn, C.J., Wynne-Edwards, K.E. Hormones and behavior. (1999) [Pubmed]
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