Biogenic amines and division of labor in honey bee colonies: behaviorally related changes in the antennal lobes and age-related changes in the mushroom bodies

J Comp Physiol A. 1999 May;184(5):481-8. doi: 10.1007/s003590050348.


Levels of the biogenic amines dopamine, serotonin, and octopamine were measured in different brain regions of adult worker honey bees as a function of age-related division of labor, using social manipulations to unlink age and behavioral state. In the antennal lobes, foragers had higher levels of all three amines than nurses, regardless of age. Differences were larger for octopamine than serotonin or dopamine. In the mushroom bodies, older bees had higher levels of all three amines than younger bees, regardless of behavioral state. These correlative results suggest that increases in octopamine in the antennal lobes may be particularly important in the control of age-related division of labor in honey bees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Biogenic Amines / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Sense Organs / physiology*


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins