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Social Decision-Making in Animals

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Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00317

Social memory and social patterns alterations in the absence of STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase

 Gloria Blázquez1, Anna Castañé2, Anna Saavedra1, Mercè Masana1,  Jordi Alberch1 and  Esther Pérez-Navarro1, 3*
  • 1Departamento de Biomedicina, Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Departamento de Neuroquímica y Neurofarmacología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas de Barcelona (IIBB), Spain
  • 3University of Barcelona, Spain

STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP) is a neural-specific protein that opposes the development of synaptic strengthening and whose levels are altered in several neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Since STEP is expressed in brain regions implicated in social behavior, namely the striatum, the CA2 region of the hippocampus, cortex and amygdala, here we investigated whether social memory and social patterns were altered in STEP knockout (KO) mice. Our data robustly demonstrated that STEP KO mice presented specific social memory impairment as indicated by the three-chamber sociability test, the social discrimination test, the 11-trial habituation/dishabituation social recognition test, and the novel object recognition test. This affectation was not related to deficiencies in the detection of social olfactory cues, altered sociability or anxiety levels. However, STEP KO mice showed lower exploratory activity, reduced interaction time with an intruder, less dominant behavior and higher immobility time in the tail suspension test than controls, suggesting alterations in motivation. Moreover, the extracellular levels of dopamine, but not serotonin, were increased in the dorsal striatum of STEP KO mice. Overall, our results strongly indicate that STEP deficiency disrupts social memory and other social behaviors as well as dopamine homeostasis in the dorsal striatum.

Keywords: Social Memory, social interaction, Dopamine, Dominance, STEP KO mice

Received: 02 Aug 2018; Accepted: 04 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Ellouise Leadbeater, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Michael Lukas, University of Regensburg, Germany
Antonia Manduca, Aix-Marseille Université, France  

Copyright: © 2018 Blázquez, Castañé, Saavedra, Masana, Alberch and Pérez-Navarro. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Esther Pérez-Navarro, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, estherperez@ub.edu