The lateral septum mediates kinship behavior in the rat

Ann M Clemens, Hong Wang and Michael Brecht

Evolutionary theory and behavioral biology suggest that kinship is an organizing principle ofsocial behavior. The neural mechanisms that mediate kinship behavior are, however, notknown. Experiments confirm a sibling-approach preference in young rat pups and a sibling-avoidance-preference in older pups. Lesions of the lateral septum eliminate such kin preferences. In vivo juxtacellular and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in the lateral septum show multisensory neuronal responses to kin and non-kin stimuli. Non-kin odor-responsive neurons are located dorsally and kin-odor responsive neurons are located ventrally in the lateral septum. With development, the fraction of kin-responsive lateral septal neurons decrease and ongoing firing rates increase. Lesion effects, developmental changes and theordered representation of response preferences according to kinship—an organization we refer to as nepotopy—point to a key role of the lateral septum in organizing mammalian kinship behavior.

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Nat Commun. 11(1):3161 (2020)


kinshiplateral septum lesionswhole-cell patch-clamp recordings
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