© 2019, The Author(s). The ability to identify odors in the environment is crucial for survival and reproduction. However, whether olfactory processing in higher-order brain centers is influenced by an animal’s physiological condition is unknown. We used in vivo neuron and local field potential (LFP) recordings from the ventral telencephalon of dominant and subordinate male cichlids to test the hypothesis that response properties of olfactory neurons differ with social status. Dominant males had a high percentage of neurons that responded to several odor types, suggesting broad tuning or differential sensitivity when males are reproductively active and defending a territory. A greater percentage of neurons in dominant males also responded to sex- and food-related odors, while a greater percentage of neurons in subordinate males responded to complex odors collected from behaving dominant males, possibly as a mechanism to mediate social suppression and allow subordinates to identify opportunities to rise in rank. Odor-evoked LFP spectral densities, indicative of synaptic inputs, were also 2–3-fold greater in dominant males, demonstrating status-dependent differences in processing possibly linking olfactory and other neural inputs to goal-directed behaviors. For the first time we reveal social and reproductive-state plasticity in olfactory processing neurons in the vertebrate forebrain that are associated with status-specific lifestyles.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Nikonov, A., & Maruska, K. (2019). Male dominance status regulates odor-evoked processing in the forebrain of a cichlid fish. Scientific Reports, 9 (1) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41521-6