Effect of colony disruption and social isolation on naked mole-rat endocrine correlates

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dc.contributor.author Blecher, Arantxa Silvia
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.author Medger, Katarina
dc.contributor.author Hagenah, Nicole
dc.contributor.author Ganswindt, Andre
dc.contributor.author Oosthuizen, Maria Kathleen
dc.date.accessioned 2020-05-29T11:17:33Z
dc.date.issued 2020-09
dc.description.abstract The social environment of animals can have profound implications on their behaviour and physiology. Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are highly social with complex dominance hierarchies that influence both stress- and reproduction-related hormones. Homeostasis may be affected by aggressive interactions, colony instability and social isolation. Furthermore, naked mole-rat colonies are characterised by a marked reproductive skew; a single female and few males are reproductively active while other colony members are reproductively suppressed. Thus, there are distinct differences in related hormone concentrations between reproductively active and non-active animals; however, this changes when non-reproductive individuals are removed from the colony. We investigated the effects of social isolation and colony disruption on plasma cortisol and progesterone concentrations in non-breeding naked mole-rats. During colony disruption, we found a significant increase in cortisol concentrations in females removed from the colony for social isolation (experimental) as well as in females that remained in the colony (control). Cortisol concentrations were reduced in both groups after experimental animals were paired up. No changes in cortisol concentrations were observed in control or experimental males after removal from the colony or pairing. This suggests that the females, but not the males, found colony disruption and social isolation stressful. Upon removal from the colony, both control and experimental females showed a small increase in progesterone, which returned to basal levels again in the control animals. Experimental females showed a dramatic spike in progesterone when they were paired with males, indicating reproductive activation. The sex difference in the stress responses may be due to the stronger reproductive suppression imposed on females, or the increased likelihood of dispersal for males. It is clear that the social environment reflects on the endocrine correlates of animals living in a colony, and that the colony structure may affect the sensitivity of the animals to changes in their environment. en_ZA
dc.description.department Anatomy and Physiology en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2021-09-01
dc.description.librarian hj2020 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The SARChI Chair of Mammal Behavioural Ecology and Physiology for funds to carry out the research from the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation. en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ygcen en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Blecher, A.S., Bennett, N.C., Medger, K. et al. 2020, 'Effect of colony disruption and social isolation on naked mole-rat endocrine correlates', General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 295, art. 113520, pp. 1-6. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0016-6480 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1095-6840 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.ygcen.2020.113520
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/74786
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Elsevier en_ZA
dc.rights © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in General and Comparative Endocrinology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. A definitive version was subsequently published in General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 295, art. 113520, pp. 1-6, 2020. doi : 10.1016/j.ygcen.2020.113520. en_ZA
dc.subject Colony disruption en_ZA
dc.subject Naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) en_ZA
dc.subject Plasma cortisol en_ZA
dc.subject Plasma progesterone en_ZA
dc.subject Reproductive suppression en_ZA
dc.subject Social isolation en_ZA
dc.subject Stress en_ZA
dc.title Effect of colony disruption and social isolation on naked mole-rat endocrine correlates en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA


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