Document details

Socially driven changes in neural and behavioural plasticity in zebrafish

Author(s): Teles, Magda Cristina, 1981-

Date: 2015

Persistent ID:

Origin: Repositório da Universidade de Lisboa

Project/scholarship: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/SFRH/SFRH%2FBD%2F44848%2F2008/PT; info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/265957/EU; info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/3599-PPCDT/129982/PT ;

Subject(s): Comportamento social animal; Peixe-zebra; Hormonas esteróides; Teses de doutoramento - 2015; Domínio/Área Científica::Ciências Naturais::Ciências Biológicas; Domínio/Área Científica::Ciências Naturais::Ciências Biológicas; Domínio/Área Científica::Ciências Naturais::Ciências Biológicas


Social competence, the ability of individuals to regulate the expression of their social behaviour in order to optimize their social relationships in a group, is especially benefic for individuals living in complex social environments, and implies the ability to perceive social cues and produce appropriate behavioural output responses (Social Plasticity). Numerous examples of social competence can be found in nature, where individuals extract social information from the environment, and change their behavioural response based on the collected information. At the neuronal level, two major plasticity mechanisms have been proposed to underlie social plasticity, structural reorganization and biochemical switching of the neuronal networks underlying behaviour. The neural substrate for behavioural plasticity has been identified as the social decision-making (SDM) network, such that the same neural circuitry may underlie the expression of different behaviours depending on social context. The goal of this work is to study the proximate mechanism underlying behavioural flexibility in the context of experience-dependent behavioural shifts, in an integrative framework. For this purpose we exposed male zebrafish to two types of social interactions: (1) real-opponent interactions, from which a Winner and Loser emerged; and (2) Mirror-elicited interactions, that produced individuals that did not experience a change in social status, despite expressing similar levels of aggressive behaviour to those participating in real-opponent fights. In a first set of experiments, we studied the influence of neuromodulators on social plasticity mechanisms, by characterizing the endocrine response to social challenges, as well as the social modulation of brain monoamines and nonapeptides. Next we tested the SDM network hypothesis by contrasting changes in functional localization vs. connectivity across this network. Finally we characterized changes in expression of key genes for different neuroplasticity mechanisms in response to changes in social status. Our research suggests different social plasticity mechanisms underlying Winners and Losers both at physiological and molecular levels, for Mirror-fighters, where the experience of winning or losing was decoupled for the fighting experience, few changes were detected. This, by itself suggests a pivotal role of social perception in triggering shifts between socially driven behavioural states.

Tese de doutoramento, Biologia (Etologia), Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, 2015

Document Type Doctoral thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Oliveira, Rui F., 1966-; Fonseca, Paulo Jorge Quintais Cancela da, 1958-
Contributor(s) Teles, Magda Cristina, 1981-
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