We are interested in understanding the neuroendocrine mechanisms of social behaviour and how the social environment may feedback on the neuroendocrine system. In particular we are interested in the role of hormones as key physiological mediators underlying social plasticity.
Social Neuro EndocrinologyOliveira Lab email@example.com
In social species animals interact frequently with each other and these social interactions influence subsequent behaviour as a way for animals to adapt to a changing social environment. Thus the ability for adjusting behaviour to social context has obvious implications for the darwinian fitness of the individual. Behavioural plasticity can be achieved by different neural plasticity mechanisms, namely by rewiring or by biochemically switching nodes of the neural network underlying social behaviour. Rewiring of neural circuits can be achieved by the incorporation of new neurons in the network or by changing the structural properties of the network (e.g. dendritic plasticity) and is expected to be involved in dramatic and long-lasting changes in behaviour, as those that happen when animals switch from one life-history stage to another (e.g. non-breeding to breeding stage). Biochemical switching can be achieved by neuromodulators that change the functional properties of the networks and facilitate or inhibit the expression of specific behaviours, and therefore is expected to mediate behavioural plasticity within the same life-history stage (e.g. motivational changes in behaviour).
Since steroid hormones respond to social interactions and have receptors extensively expressed in the social behaviour (neural) network, it is expected that steroids play a key role in the hormonal modulation of social plasticity. Steroids are also known to have effects both at the structural and functional levels in the nervous system and therefore both activational and reorganizational effects can be achieved. Furthermore, different steroids are known to have opposite effects on the activity of the same neural circuit (e.g. effects of glucocorticoids vs. estrogens in the limbic system of mammals), and thus they can up- or down-regulate the same system.
Currently we have two ongoing research lines that try to apply this framework to two different levels of social plasticity:
- Effects of social interactions (winning-losing fights) on hormones, neural activity and subsequent social behaviour as a model to study short-term behavioural plasticity.
- Effects of transitions between life-history stages on hormones, pattern of neural activation and social behaviour as a model to study long-term behavioural plasticity.
We are using different fish species to study behavioural plasticity. Both cichlid fish and zebrafish are being used as animal models for transient (motivational) changes in social behaviour. The peacock blenny, a species with alternative reproductive tactics in which subordinate younger males adopt a conditional female-mimic tactic to achieve sneaking fertilizations and then switch to territorial nesting males when they become older, is being used to study lasting changes in behaviour. Since in this species the same individual expresses both male and female behaviour at two different life-history stages it is particularly well suited for studying the structural reorganization of neural circuits underlying social behaviour.
We use a combination of neuroendocrine and behavioural techniques in the lab, including behavioural observations in lab and field conditions, studying differential gene expression using in situ hybridization, Q-PCR and microarrays, assaying hormones with ELISA and RIA, and studying adult neurogenesis with BrdU and neuronal and glial markers imunohistochemistry.
Roleira A, Oliveira GA, Lopes JS, Oliveira RF (2017) Audience Effects in Territorial Defense of Male Cichlid Fish Are Associated with Differential Patterns of Activation of the Brain Social Decision-Making Network. Front Behav Neurosci 11 , 105 (doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00105)
Faustino AI, Tacão-Monteiro A, Oliveira RF (2017) Mechanisms of social buffering of fear in zebrafish Sci Rep (doi:10.1038/srep44329)
Abril-de-Abreu R, Cruz J, Oliveira RF. (2015) Social Eavesdropping in Zebrafish: Tuning of Attention to Social Interactions Sci Rep (5), 12678 (doi:10.1038/srep12678)
Faustino AI, Oliveira GA, Oliveira RF (2015) Linking appraisal to behavioral flexibility in animals: implications for stress research. Front Behav Neurosci 9 (104) (doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00104)
Cardoso SD, Teles MC, Oliveira RF. (2015) Neurogenomic mechanisms of social plasticity. J. Exp. Biol. 218 ((PT1)), 140-149 (doi:10.1242/jeb.118075)
Oliveira GA, Uceda S, Oliveira TF, Fernandes AC, Garcia-Marques T, Oliveira RF. (2014) Testosterone response to competition in males is unrelated to opponent familiarity or threat appraisal. Front Psychol 5 (1240), eCollection 2014 (doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01240)
Gonçalves-de-Freitas E, Carvalho TB, Oliveira RF. (2014) Photoperiod modulation of aggressive behavior is independent of androgens in a tropical cichlid fish. Gen Comp Endocrinol S0016-6480 (14), 00297-4 (doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.07.024)
Almeida O, Gonçalves-de-Freitas E, Lopes JS, Oliveira RF. (2014) Social instability promotes hormone-behavior associated patterns in a cichlid fish. Horm Behav. , In press (doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.05.007)
Soares MC, Cardoso SC, Grutter AS, Oliveira RF, Bshary R. (2014) Cortisol mediates cleaner wrasse switch from cooperation to cheating and tactical deception. Horm Behav. 66 (2), 346-350 (doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.06.010)
Gonçalves D, Costa SS, Teles MC, Silva H, Inglês M, Oliveira RF. (2014) Oestradiol and prostaglandin F2? regulate sexual displays in females of a sex-role reversed fish. Proc. Biol. Sci. 281 (178), 1471-2954 (doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.3070)
Galhardo L, Oliveira RF. (2013) The effects of social isolation on steroid hormone levels are modulated by previous social status and context in a cichlid fish Horm Behav. 64 (5) (doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.10.010)
Oliveira RF (2013) Mind the fish: zebrafish as a model in cognitive social neuroscience. Front Neural Circuits 7 (131) (doi:10.3389/fncir.2013.00131 )
Teles MC, Dahlbom SJ, Winberg S, Oliveira RF. (2013) Social modulation of brain monoamine levels in zebrafish Behav. Brain Res. S0166-4328 (13), 00411-7 (doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.07.012.)
Oliveira RF. (2012) Social plasticity in fish: integrating mechanisms and function. J.Fish.Biol. 81 (7), 2127-50 (doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03477.x.)
Simões JM, Teles MC, Oliveira RF, Van der Linden A, Verhoye M. (2012) A Three-Dimensional Stereotaxic MRI Brain Atlas of the Cichlid Fish Oreochromis mossambicus. PLoS ONE 7 (9), e44086 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044086)
Soares MC, Oliveira RF, Ros AFH, Grutter AS and Bshary R (2011) Tactile stimulation lowers stress in fish. Nat Commun 2 (doi:doi:10.1038/ncomms1547)
Galhardo L, Almeida O, Oliveira RF (2010) Measuring motivation in a cichlid fish: an adaptation of the push-door paradigm. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. in press (doi:doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2010.12.008)
Costa SS, Andrade R, Carneiro LA, Gonçalves EJ, Kotrschal K, Oliveira RF (2010) Sex differences in the dorso-lateral telencephalon correlate with home range size in blenniid fish. Brain Behav. Evol. in press (doi:doi: 10.1159/000323668)
Soares MC, Côté IM, Cardoso SC, Oliveira RF, Bshary R (2010) Caribbean cleaning gobies prefer client ectoparasites over mucus. Ethology 116 , 1244-1248
Gonçalves DM, Saraiva JL, Teles M, Teodósio R, Canário AVM, Oliveira RF (2010) Brain aromatase mRNA expression in two populations of the peacock blenny Salaria pavo with divergent mating systems. Horm Behav 57 , 155-161
Saraiva JL, Gonçalves DM, Oliveira RF (2010) Environmental modulation of androgen levels and secondary sex characters in two populations of the peacock blenny Salaria pavo. Horm Behav 57 , 192-197
Lacava RV, Brasileiro L, Maia R, Oliveira RF, Macedo RH (2010) environment affects testosterone level in captive male blue-black grassquits. Horm Behav in press (doi:doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.10.003)
Ros AFH, Lusa J, Meyer M, Soares MC, Oliveira RF, Brossard M, Bshary R (2010) Does access to the bluestreak cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus affect indicators of stress and health in resident reef fishes in the Red Sea?. Horm Behav in press (doi:doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.11.006)
Soares MC, Bshary R, Fusani L, Goymann W, Hau M, Hirschenhauser K, Oliveira RF (2010) Hormonal mechanisms of cooperative behaviour. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 365 , 2737-2750
Galhardo L, Vital J, Oliveira RF (2010) The role of predictability in the stress response of a cichlid fish. Physiol. Behav. in press (doi:doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.11.035)
Gonçalves DM, Oliveira RF (2010) Hormones and sexual behavior of teleost fishes. , 119-147
Oliveira RF (2009) Social behavior in context: hormonal modulation of behavioral plasticity and social competence. Integr. Comp. Biol. 49 , 423-440
Oliveira RF, Silva A and Canário AVM (2009) Why do winners keep winning? Androgen mediation of winner but not loser effects in cichlid fish. Proc. Biol. Sci. 276 , 2249-2256
Antunes RA and OliveiraRF (2009) Hormonal anticipation of territorial challenges in cichlid fish. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 106 , 15985-15989
Oliveira T, Gouveia MJ, and Oliveira RF (2009) Testosterone responsiveness to winning and losing experiences in female soccer players. Psychoneuroendocrinology 34 , 1056-1064.
Oliveira RF, Taborsky M and Brockmann HJ (eds.) (2008) Alternative Reproductive Tactics: an integrative approach.
Oliveira RF, Carneiro LA and Canário AVM (2005) No hormonal response in tied fights. Nature 437 , 207-208
Oliveira RF (2004) Social modulation of androgens in vertebrates: mechanisms and function. 34 , 165-239
Oliveira RF, Lopes M, Carneiro LA and Canário AVM (2001) Watching fights raises fish hormone levels. Nature 409 (475)
Oliveira RF, McGregor PK and Latruffe C (1998) Know thine enemy: gathering information on fighting ability of potential rivals in Siamese fighting fish. Proc. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 265 , 1045-1049