Individual differences in estrogen receptor α in select brain nuclei are associated with individual differences in aggression

Brian C. Trainor, Kelly M. Greiwe, Randy J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Steroid hormones play an important role in modulating social behavior in many species. Estrogens are thought to act on an interconnected network of hypothalamic and limbic brain areas to affect aggressive behavior, although the specific nuclei unknown remain unspecified. We show that individual variation in estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) immunoreactivity in the lateral septum (LS), ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (vBNST), and anterior hypothalamus (AHA) of CD-1 mice is positively correlated with aggressive behavior. When males were treated with fadrozole (an aromatase inhibitor), aggressive behavior was reduced, although castration did not reduce aggression. These results suggest that estrogens modulate aggressive behavior by acting on a circuit that includes the LS, vBNST, and AHA and that the source of estrogens is non-gonadal. Fadrozole also decreased c-fos expression in the lateral septum following aggressive encounters. Although the effects of estrogen on aggression appear to involve regulation of neuronal activity in the LS, additional processes are likely involved. These results suggest that estrogen acts in a specific subset of a complex network of nuclei to affect aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Aggression
Individuality
Estrogen Receptors
Estrogens
Fadrozole
Brain
Anterior Hypothalamus
Septal Nuclei
Aromatase Inhibitors
Estrogen Receptor alpha
Social Behavior
Castration
Steroids
Hormones

Keywords

  • Aromatase
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Individual differences
  • Lateral septum
  • Social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Individual differences in estrogen receptor α in select brain nuclei are associated with individual differences in aggression. / Trainor, Brian C.; Greiwe, Kelly M.; Nelson, Randy J.

In: Hormones and Behavior, Vol. 50, No. 2, 08.2006, p. 338-345.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Trainor, Brian C. ; Greiwe, Kelly M. ; Nelson, Randy J. / Individual differences in estrogen receptor α in select brain nuclei are associated with individual differences in aggression. In: Hormones and Behavior. 2006 ; Vol. 50, No. 2. pp. 338-345.
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