Most behavioral studies on animals focus on observation of individual subjects. Current paradigms of sociability set aside the social-operant dimension, i.e. acting in favor of another conspecific. We focused on prosocial behavior and reciprocity of male, adult Wild-Type (WT) and Heterozygous (HET) rats for the dopamine-transporter (DAT) gene. Method: The experiment consisted of 24 rats, of WT (n = 12) and HET (n = 12) genotypes. During training, rats were daily introduced, individually, into an apparatus hosting a suspended syringe, which they learnt to push in order to obtain food therein. Then, twice daily along several weeks, we introduced two rats separated by a grid in the same structure: by syringe-pushing, each subject had the opportunity to donate and receive donations of food. We tested pairs with similar versus different genotype. Eventually, we replaced food reward with polystyrene pieces, to understand if they pushed for actual reward or like a habit. Results: In general, WT rats had better performance, regardless of reward type, than HET ones. When we crossed partner rats’ genotype (WT-HET pairs), WT rats pushed at peak levels, regardless of food pellet received back (in fact, HET companions pushed less). Couples of WT rats achieved better results than HET ones even when polystyrene, instead of food, was used. Thus,WT rats seem to be a better model for altruistic behavior than HET ones. For this reason, HET rats could represent a model for studies on altered prosocial behavior, to understand the role of DAT gene for impaired social mechanisms.
|Titolo:||A new paradigm for Prosocial Behavior and Reciprocity, assessed in WT and HET rats for the DAT gene|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|