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Comportement de la mère et du nouveau-né chez les mammifères : mécanismes d’activation

Abstract : Raising young is an important step of reproductive success in Mammals. Postnatal survival depends on the presence of maternal behaviour and an adequate behaviour of the neonate. The determinants of maternal care differ between species, but some general rules do exist. In some species, the sensory cues provided by the neonates suffice to trigger immediate maternal care while in others, maternal endocrine and proprioceptive factors of parturition are also necessary. The aptitude of females to care for the young is improved generally by maternal experience. In all species studied, parturition is a sensitive period of increased receptivity to the neonate, including in primates and humans. The activating factors internal to the female can also differ between species. Nonetheless, estrogens, progesterone, expulsion of the foetus and its resulting intracerebral liberation of oxytocin are the most commonly encountered factors. The nervous target structures are mainly the medial-preoptic-area/bed-nucleus-of-the-stria-terminalis complex, the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, the olfactory bulbs and the amygdala. Also, in most species that have mature neonates, the mother learns to recognise her young within a few hours, mainly by its smell and then rejects any alien young at the udder. This learning depends on the main olfactory system and is facilitated by the expulsion process. It also involves the amygdala and other cortical structures. As for the neonate, its behaviour is guided by maternal sensory cues. The value of some of these cues can already be determined at birth (maternal pheromone in rabbits) or acquired through reinforcement by suckling (preference for the mother in lambs). The outcome leads to reciprocal interactions between the mother and her young in which each member of the dyad becomes a factor of control of the other's behaviour.
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  • HAL Id : hal-02661240, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 21406
  • WOS : 000254224600004



Pascal Poindron, Frédéric Lévy, Raymond Nowak. Comportement de la mère et du nouveau-né chez les mammifères : mécanismes d’activation. Productions animales, 2007, 20 (5), pp.393-408. ⟨hal-02661240⟩



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