Neural regulation of pair bond formation in a monogamous rodent species

Brandon J. Aragona, J. Thomas Curtis, Yan Liu, Zuoxin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neurobiology of monogamous social organization can be studied by laboratory examination of social bonding. In this review, we discuss how the monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) has been used as a model system to provide tremendous insight into the neural regulation of pair bond formation. Neuroanatomical differences between monogamous and non-monogamous voles, as well as how neurochemical manipulations affect pair bond formation are reviewed. In addition, interactions among neurochemical systems that regulate pair bond formation and the extent of sexual dimorphism associated with pair bonding are discussed. Finally, we propose future directions for this line of research and explain why understanding the neural regulation of social bonding is important for human health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-172
Number of pages13
JournalActa Theriologica Sinica
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Corticosterone
  • Dopamine
  • Monogamy
  • Oxytocin
  • Pair bond
  • Vasopressin
  • Vole


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