Deviant forms of aggression in glucocorticoid hyporeactive rats: A model for 'pathological' aggression?

J. Haller, J. Van De Schraaf, M. R. Kruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Deviant forms of aggressiveness have been associated with low plasma glucocorticoid concentrations in humans. Here, we report data on the development of aggressive behaviour in rats in which glucocorticoid secretion was inhibited by adrenalectomy. Such rats were compared with both sham operated rats and adrenalectomized rats in which the fight-induced elevation of plasma glucocorticoids was mimicked by acute injections. Low and stable corticosterone plasma concentrations were maintained by subcutaneous glucocorticoid pellets in adrenalectomized rats. The development of aggressive behaviour was followed over three trials performed at 2-day intervals. Adrenalectomy lead to high aggressiveness already at the first encounter, a decreased threatening (attack signalling) behaviour and a change in attack targeting. While control rats targeted biting attacks towards less vulnerable dorsal parts of the opponent's body, adrenalectomized rats attacked the head frequently. Corticosterone injections that mimicked the fight induced adrenocortical reaction abolished this behavioural pattern. Thus, a reduced responsiveness of the adrenocortical system may be causally linked to deviant forms of aggression in rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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Aggression
Glucocorticoids
Adrenalectomy
Corticosterone
Injections
Human Body
Head

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Corticosterone
  • Deviant
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Rat
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Deviant forms of aggression in glucocorticoid hyporeactive rats : A model for 'pathological' aggression? / Haller, J.; Van De Schraaf, J.; Kruk, M. R.

In: Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2001, p. 102-107.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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