Effects of photoperiod and experience on aggressive behavior in female California mice

Andrea L. Silva, William H D Fry, Colleen A Sweeney, Brian C. Trainor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aggressive behavior among females is observed in many species, but the mechanisms of this behavior have historically been understudied. In many species of rodents, winter-like short day photoperiods induce increased aggression levels compared to summer-like long day photoperiods. Recent reports in hamsters show that short days also increase aggression in females. We examined the effects of photoperiod on aggression in female California mice, and for the first time compare brain activity of aggression-tested female rodents under different photoperiods. We observed that female California mice were more aggressive when housed in short days versus long days. Intriguingly, we also observed that under long days female attack latency decreases with repeated testing in resident-intruder tests. These data suggest that winner effects that have been described in males may also occur in females. We also used the expression of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (pERK) in the brain to estimate brain activity during aggression tests. pERK can alter neuronal activity in the short term and in the long term can act as a transcription factor. Using immunoblot analyses we observed that aggression-induced pERK expression in the female bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and medial amygdala occurs under both long and short days. Thus, the mechanisms controlling increased aggression under short days are still unclear and additional study is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-534
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume208
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2010

Fingerprint

Photoperiod
Aggression
Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
Rodentia
Brain
Septal Nuclei
Amygdala
Cricetinae
Transcription Factors

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Amygdala
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Effects of photoperiod and experience on aggressive behavior in female California mice. / Silva, Andrea L.; Fry, William H D; Sweeney, Colleen A; Trainor, Brian C.

In: Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 208, No. 2, 02.04.2010, p. 528-534.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Silva, Andrea L. ; Fry, William H D ; Sweeney, Colleen A ; Trainor, Brian C. / Effects of photoperiod and experience on aggressive behavior in female California mice. In: Behavioural Brain Research. 2010 ; Vol. 208, No. 2. pp. 528-534.
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