Contract Grant Sponsor: National Institutes of Health; Contract grant number: HD042882; Contract Grant Sponsor: National Science Foundation; Contract grant number: IBN 00-91030.
The Role of Androgenic Steroids in Shaping Social Phenotypes Across the Lifespan in Male Marmosets (Callithrix spp.)
Version of Record online: 19 SEP 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
American Journal of Primatology
Special Issue: Special Section on Reproductive Function and Dysfunction in Nonhuman Primates
Volume 75, Issue 3, pages 212–221, March 2013
How to Cite
FRENCH*, J. A. (2013), The Role of Androgenic Steroids in Shaping Social Phenotypes Across the Lifespan in Male Marmosets (Callithrix spp.). Am. J. Primatol., 75: 212–221. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22077
- Issue online: 18 JAN 2013
- Version of Record online: 19 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 31 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Received: 13 MAY 2012
- National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: HD042882
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: IBN 00-91030
- androgen hormones
Steroid hormones, particularly androgens and their metabolic derivatives, play a prominent role in shaping morphological, behavioral, and social phenotypes in many organisms, including primates. This paper reviews the endocrine correlates of development in male marmoset monkeys of the genus Callithrix (C. kuhlii and C. geoffroyi). A lifespan developmental perspective is adopted, in which our knowledge of hormone effects and profiles from prenatal periods through old age is described. Prenatal steroid hormones appear to play a prominent role in shaping behavioral and morphological phenotypes both the prepartum and in the early postpartum periods of life, with exposure to high gestational androgen associated with reduced fetal growth and lower levels of juvenile play. Early postnatal elevations in androgen levels in males are ubiquitous in Callithrix, and play a role in the further differentiation of male genital morphology and behavior. Changes in androgens as males approach puberty are similar to the conventional primate pattern, and unlike in female marmosets, gonadal steroidogenesis appears to be independent of social context. In adults, androgens appear to be an important modulator of paternal responsiveness to infants, since androgens are low at times when males typically engage in maximal levels of care, and fathers that care for offspring extensively appear to have lower androgen levels than fathers that are less involved in offspring care. Finally, aging in male marmosets is associated with reduced androgen levels. This reduction appears to be attributable to deficits in central mechanisms, since experimental induction and inhibition of gonadal steroid synthesis and release appears to be normal in older males. Together, these results suggest a complex picture of lifetime involvement of androgens in shaping marmoset phenotypes. Am. J. Primatol. 75:212-221, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.