Low doses of oxytocin facilitate social recognition in rats
Social recognition of juveniles by adult male residents has been shown to be modulated by neurohypophyseal hormones. The decrease of social investigation behavior during a second encounter with the same juvenile serves as index for social recognition. In the present study it was found that low doses (0.09–6.0 ng · kg−1) of oxytocin (OXT) given subcutaneously dose dependently facilitated social recognition. The effect of OXT appeared specific, since no change in social investigation was found when a novel juvenile was tested during the second encounter. No disturbances of social recognition by the low doses of OXT could be detected, in contrast to higher doses of this hormone. Other neurohypophyseal hormones, vasopressin and vasotocin, did not facilitate social recognition when tested in the same range of low doses.