The onset of maternal behavior in pregnant hamsters was measured by presenting foster pups at 0900 and 2100 hr on Day 15 and at 0300, 0500, and 0700 hr on Day 16 and then at hourly intervals until parturition began. The occurrence of parturition was determined at each maternal test and at 0.5 hr intervals beginning at 0700 hr on Day 16. Nulliparous and primiparous animals became maternal at approximately the same time on Day 16, 2 and 6 hr prepartum, respectively, demonstrating that parturition is not essential for maternal behavior. The second experiment showed that nulliparous females injected with either 1 μg or 10 μgm estradiol-17β (E2), 0.1 mgm progesterone (P), 10 μgm E2 plus 0.1 mgm P, or oil at 1200 hr on Day 15 became maternal at the same time of day (0800-1000 hr) while parturition was delayed 8 hr in females receiving P. The results suggest a dissociation between the regulation of parturition and maternal care and are compared to previous research into the hormonal basis of maternal behavior in rats.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience