The genus Macaca is an ideal model for investigating the biological basis of primate social behavior from an evolutionary perspective. A significant amount of behavioral diversity has been reported among the macaque species, but little is known about the neural substrates that support this variation. The present study compared neural cell density and serotonergic innervation of the amygdala among four macaque species using histological and immunohistochemical methods. The species examined included rhesus (Macaca mulatta), Japanese (M. fuscata), pigtailed (M. nemestrina), and moor macaques (M. maura). We anticipated that the more aggressive rhesus and Japanese macaques would have lower serotonergic innervation within the amygdala compared to the more affiliative pigtailed and moor macaques. In contrast to our prediction, pigtailed macaques had higher serotonergic innervation than Japanese and moor macaques in the basal and central amygdala nuclei when controlling for neuron density. Our analysis of neural cell populations revealed that Japanese macaques possess significantly higher neuron and glia densities relative to the other three species, however we observed no glia-to-neuron ratio differences among species. The results of this study revealed serotonergic innervation and cell density differences among closely related macaque species, which may play a role in modulating subtle differences in emotional processing and species-typical social styles.
- RRID: AB_2190560
- social behavior