The role of genetic and environmental factors as well as brain neurochemistry in regulating aggressive and submissive behaviors in animals are considered. We present a review of data on changes in brain monoaminergic activity (synthesis, catabolism, receptors) and on the expression of monoaminergic genes under repeated daily agonistic confrontations in male mice. A repeated experience of aggression was shown to result in the total activation of the dopaminergic systems and the inhibition of the serotonergic one. This was accompanied by a decrease in the mRNA level of the cathecol-O-methyltransferase gene in the midbrain and an increase of the mRNA level of the dopamine transporter and tyrosine hydroxylase genes in the ventral tegmental area of aggressive male mice. Repeated experience of social defeats produced dynamic changes in the serotonergic system of some brain areas and an increase of the mRNA level of the serotonin transporter and monoamine oxidase A genes in the midbrain raphe nuclei. Theoretical and methodological possibilities of the proposed ethological approach for studying molecular mechanisms of agonistic behavior are discussed in the context of the fundamental problem of investigating the ways of regulation from behavior to gene.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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