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Vol. 70, No. 4, 2007
Issue release date: September 2007
Section title: Paper
Brain Behav Evol 2007;70:274–285
(DOI:10.1159/000105491)

Neurobiological Mechanisms of Aggression and Stress Coping: A Comparative Study in Mouse and Rat Selection Lines

Veenema A.H. · Neumann I.D.
Department of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Zoology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Received: 4/12/2007
Accepted: 5/8/2007
Published online: 9/18/2007
Issue release date: September 2007

Number of Print Pages: 12
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE

Abstract

Aggression causes major health and social problems and constitutes a central problem in several psychiatric disorders. There is a close relationship between the display of aggression and stress coping strategies. In order to gain more insight into biochemical pathways associated with aggression and stress coping, we assessed behavioral and neurobiological responses in two genetically selected rodent models, namely wild house mice selectively bred for a short (SAL) and long (LAL) attack latency and Wistar rats bred for high (HAB) or low (LAB) anxiety-related behavior. Compared to their line counterparts, the SAL mice and the LAB rats display a high level of intermale aggression associated with a proactive coping style. Both the SAL mice and the LAB rats show a reduced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to non-social stressors. However, when exposed to social stressors (resident-intruder, sensory contact), SAL mice show an attenuated HPA response, whereas LAB rats show an elevated HPA response. In both rodent lines, the display of aggression is associated with high neuronal activation in the central amygdala, but reduced neuronal activation in the lateral septum. Furthermore, in the lateral septum, SAL mice have a reduced vasopressinergic fiber network, and LAB rats show a decreased vasopressin release during the display of aggression. Moreover, the two lines show several indications of an increased serotonergic neurotransmission. The relevance of these findings in relation to high aggression and stress coping is discussed. In conclusion, exploring neurobiological systems in animals sharing relevant behavioral characteristics might be a useful approach to identify general mechanisms of action, which in turn can improve our understanding of specific behavioral symptoms in human psychiatric disorders.

© 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel


  

Author Contacts

Dr. Alexa H. Veenema
Department of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Zoology
University of Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, DE–93053 Regensburg (Germany)
Tel. +49 941 943 3080, Fax +49 941 943 3052
E-Mail alexa.veenema@biologie.uni-regensburg.de

  

Article Information

Published online: September 18, 2007
Number of Print Pages : 12
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 107

  

Publication Details

Brain, Behavior and Evolution

Vol. 70, No. 4, Year 2007 (Cover Date: September 2007)

Journal Editor: Wilczynski, W. (Atlanta, Ga.)
ISSN: 0006–8977 (print), 1421–9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Received: 4/12/2007
Accepted: 5/8/2007
Published online: 9/18/2007
Issue release date: September 2007

Number of Print Pages: 12
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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