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

Prolactin and paternal behavior in the biparental California mouse, Peromyscus californicus.

Relatively little is known about hormonal mechanisms underlying paternal behavior in mammals. Male California mice, Peromyscus californicus, display extensive parental care toward their young. Parental behavior of fathers, expectant fathers (males living with their pregnant partner), and virgin males was assessed in a 10-min test with a 1- to 3-day-old alien pup. Few virgin males acted parental (19%) compared to fathers one day postpartum (80%) and expectant fathers (56%). Plasma prolactin levels were significantly elevated in fathers 2 days postpartum compared to expectant fathers and virgin males. Paternal prolactin levels were similar to those of mothers. There were no differences between groups in levels of plasma testosterone. These data suggest, contrary to other reports, that prolactin is a likely correlate of paternal behavior in rodents.[1]


  1. Prolactin and paternal behavior in the biparental California mouse, Peromyscus californicus. Gubernick, D.J., Nelson, R.J. Hormones and behavior. (1989) [Pubmed]
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