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Dr. Michael Lukas

Post-doctoral researcher in Prof. Egger's lab at the University of Regensburg



The role of the neuropeptide Vasopressin in the modulation of social information processing

Current research focus:

Vasopressinergic actions in the olfactory bulb: Substrates and impact on social odor processing (funded by the DFG: LU 2164/1-1)

The neuropeptide vasopressin is a major mediator of vertebrate social behavior, best described within key limbic brain areas, like the hypothalamus and the amygdala. However, the intrinsic vasopressin system in the olfactory bulb and therewith its influence on social odor processing are relatively unexplored. Vasopressin has been shown to modulate the activity of bulbar projection and interneurons. This action is required for individual social discrimination. The detailed physiological mechanisms, e.g. which internal and external triggers set the bulbar vasopressin system in action (multisensory perception and arousal by conspecifics or attention to perceptual learning task) and how precisely vasopressin mediates the encoding of odors during social discrimination on the cellular and the systemic level of the bulb, are far from being understood. Further, there exists a conceptual gap between vasopressin neuromodulation on the cellular level and how these mechanisms actually account for the enabling social discimination.

My research combines electrophysiological and different functional and structural imaging techniques with behavioral studies.

We expect that insights into the cellular underpinning of the operation of the bulbar vasopressin system in odor-guided social behavior will also shed light onto the cellular mechanisms of vasopressinergic control of cortical and limbic brain structures during social cognition in general.

Further information: doi:10.1523/eneuro.0431-18.2019


Research Lukas

Addition research interests:

The role of vasopressin in pro-social ultrasonic vocalization (50 kHz) accompanying joyful rodent social interactions (Cooperation with Dr. Markus Wöhr, Philipps University, Marburg)

Further information: doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.005

Conspecific interactions in adult laboratory rodents: friends or foes?

Further information: doi:10.1007/7854_2015_428


 ResearchGate Link

Academic Career

2019 to date Academic staff member "Akademischer Rat auf Zeit" in Prof. Egger's lab at the University of Regensburg
2015-2018 Post-doctoral researcher in Prof. Egger's lab at the University of Regensburg

Post-doctoral researcher in Prof. Egger's lab at the LMU Munich

2011-2013 Post-doctoral researcher in Prof. Neumann's lab at the University of Regensburg
2007-2011 PhD student in neurobiology in Prof. Neumann's group at the University of Regensburg
2006-2007 MSc (Diplom)student in biology in Prof. Neumann's group at the University of Regensburg (Diploma/Master thesis: "Early life stress-induced changes in the central vasopressin system: Effects on social memory in Wistar rats")
2004-2007 Graduate studies in biology at the University of Regensburg with focus on Zoology/Neurobiology, Cellbiology and med. Microbiology
2001-2004 undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Regensburg

Honors and Grants

2017 Poster Contest Winner at 27th Meeting of the European Chemoreception Research Organization (ECRO)
2017 DFG Project Grant LU 2164/1-1 with Prof. Dr. Veronica Egger: "Vasopressinergic actions in the olfactory bulb: Substrates and impact on social odor processing"
2015 International collaborative travel stipend (SPP Integrative Analysis of Olfaction)
2011 Travel grant and Poster Contest Winner at the 9th World Congress on Neurohypophysial Hormones




Suyama, H., Egger, V., and Lukas, M. (2021). Top-down acetylcholine signaling via olfactory bulb vasopressin cells contributes to social discrimination in rats. Communications Biology. doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02129-7

De Moura Oliveira, V.E., Lukas, M., Wolf, H.N., Durante, E., Lorenz, A., Mayer, A.-L., Bludau, A., Bosch, O.J., Grinevich, V., Egger, V., De Jong, T.R., and Neumann, I.D. (2021). Oxytocin and vasopressin within the ventral and dorsal lateral septum modulate aggression in female rats. Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-23064-5


Lukas M., Suyama H., Egger V. (2019) Vasopressin cells in the rodent olfactory bulb resemble non-bursting superficial tufted cells and are primarily inhibited upon olfactory nerve stimulation. eNeuro:ENEURO.0431-0418.2019. doi:10.1523/eneuro.0431-18.2019


Lukas M., Holthoff K., Egger V. (2018) Long-term plasticity at the mitral and tufted cell to granule cell synapse of the olfactory bulb investigated with a custom multielectrode in acute brain slice preparations. In: Simoes de Souza FM, Antunes G (eds) Olfactory Receptors: Methods and Protocols. Springer New York, New York, NY, pp 157-167. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-8609-5_13


Bywalez W., Ona-Jodar T., Lukas M., Ninkovic J., Egger V. (2016) Dendritic arborization patterns of small juxtaglomerular cell subtypes within the rodent olfactory bulb. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 10. doi:10.3389/fnana.2016.00127

Chatterjee M., Pérez de los Cobos Pallarés F., Loebel A., Lukas M., Egger, V. (2016) Sniff-like patterned input results in long-term plasticity at the rat olfactory bulb and tufted cell to granule cell synapse. Neural Plasticity 16. doi:10.1155/2016/9124986

Lukas, M. and de Jong, T.R. (2016). Conspecific interactions in adult laboratory rodents: friends or foes? In: Eds. Wöhr, M., Krach, S. Social Behavior from Rodents to Humans: Neural Foundations and Clinical Implications: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences (Springer, Berlin). doi:10.1007/7854_2015_428


Lukas, M. and Wöhr, M. (2015). Endogenous vasopressin, innate anxiety, and the emission of pro-social 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations during social play behavior in juvenile rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.005


Beiderbeck, D.I., Lukas, M., and Neumann, I.D. (2014). Anti-aggressive effects of neuropeptide S independent of anxiolysis in male rats. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00185.

Lukas, M., and Neumann, I.D. (2014). Social preference and maternal defeat-induced social avoidance in virgin female rats: Sex differences in involvement of brain oxytocin and vasopressin. J Neurosci Methods 234, 101-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.03.013.


Neumann ID, Maloumby R, Beiderbeck DI, Lukas M, Landgraf R (2013) Increased brain and plasma oxytocin after nasal and peripheral administration in rats and mice. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 38, 1885-1993 doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.03.003


Nyuyki KD, Beiderbeck DI, Lukas M, Neumann ID, Reber SO (2012) Chronic subordinate colony housing (csc) as a model of chronic psychosocial stress in male rats. PLoS ONE 7, e52371. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052371

Lukas M, Toth I, Veenema AH, Neumann ID (2012) Oxytocin mediates rodent social memory within the lateral septum and the medial amygdala depending on the relevance of the social stimulus: Juvenile versus adult female conspecifics. Psychoneuroendocrinology 38, 916-926. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.09.018

Lukas M, Neumann ID (2012) Oxytocin and vasopressin in rodent behaviors related to social dysfunctions in autism spectrum disorders. Behav. Brain Res. 251, 85-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.08.011

Lukas M, Neumann ID (2012) Nasal application of neuropeptide s reduces anxiety and prolongs memory: Social versus non-social effects. Neuropharmacology 62, 398-405. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.08.016


Lukas M, Toth I, Reber SO, Slattery DA, Veenema AH, Neumann ID (2011) The neuropeptide oxytocin facilitates pro-social behavior and prevents social avoidance in rats and mice. Neuropsychopharmacology. 36, 2159–2168.

Lukas M, Bredewold R, Landgraf R, Neumann ID, Veenema AH (2011) Early life stress impairs social recognition due to a blunted response of vasopressin release within the septum of adult male rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36, 843-853. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.11.007

Lukas M and Neumann ID (2011) Brain Oxytocin is a Main Regulator of Prosocial Behaviour - Link to Psychopathology, Autism - A Neurodevelopmental Journey from Genes to Behaviour, Valsamma Eapen (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-493-1, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/brain-oxytocin-is-a-main-regulator-of-prosocial-behaviour-link-to-psychopathology


Veenema AH, Beiderbeck DI, Lukas M, Neumann ID (2010) Distinct correlations of vasopressin release within the lateral septum and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis with the display of intermale aggression. Hormones and Behavior 58:273-281. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.03.006

Lukas M, Bredewold R, Neumann ID, Veenema AH
(2010) Maternal separation interferes with developmental changes in brain vasopressin and oxytocin receptor binding in male rats. Neuropharmacology 58(1):78-87. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2009.06.020

  1. Fakultäten
  2. Fakultät für Biologie und Vorklinische Medizin

Dr. Michael Lukas


Lukas Michael _2_

Bio D4.2.309
Tel. +49-941-943-3056


ResearchGate Link