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Data from: Major urinary protein levels are associated with social status and context in mouse social hierarchies

Citation

Lee, Won; Khan, Amber; Curley, James P. (2017), Data from: Major urinary protein levels are associated with social status and context in mouse social hierarchies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g1g00

Abstract

We have previously shown that male mice living in groups of 12 males establish and maintain stable linear social hierarchies with each individual having a defined social rank. However, it is not clear which social cues mice use to signal and recognize their relative social status within their hierarchy. In this study, we investigate how individual social status both in pairs and in groups affects the levels of major urinary proteins (MUPs) and specifically MUP20 in urine. We housed groups of adult outbred CD1 male mice in a complex social environment for three weeks and collected urine samples from all individuals repeatedly. We found that dominant males produce more MUPs than subordinates when housed in pairs and that the production of MUPs and MUP20 is significantly higher in alpha males compared with all other individuals in a social hierarchy. Furthermore, we found that hepatic mRNA expression of Mup3 and Mup20 is significantly higher in alpha males than in subordinate males. We also show that alpha males have lower urinary creatinine levels consistent with these males urinating more than others living in hierarchies. These differences emerged within one week of animals being housed together in social hierarchies. This study demonstrates that as males transition to become alpha males, they undergo physiological changes that contribute to communication of their social status that may have implications for the energetic demands of maintaining dominance.

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