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An appetite for aggressive behavior? Female rats, too, derive reward from winning aggressive interactions


Börchers, Stina; Carl, Jil; Schormair, Katharina; Krieger, Jean-Philippe; Asker, Mohammed; Edvardsson, Christian E; Jerlhag, Elisabeth; Skibicka, Karolina P (2023). An appetite for aggressive behavior? Female rats, too, derive reward from winning aggressive interactions. Translational Psychiatry, 13(1):331.

Abstract

While aggression is an adaptive behavior mostly triggered by competition for resources, it can also in and of itself be rewarding. Based on the common notion that female rats are not aggressive, much of aggression research has been centered around males, leading to a gap in the understanding of the female aggression neurobiology. Therefore, we asked whether intact virgin female rats experience reward from an aggressive interaction and assessed aggression seeking behavior in rats of both sexes. To validate the involvement of reward signaling, we measured mesolimbic dopamine turnover and determined the necessity of dopamine signaling for expression of aggression-seeking. Together our data indicate that female rats exhibit aggressive behavior outside of maternal context, experience winning aggressive behaviors as rewarding, and do so to a similar extent as male rats and in a dopamine-dependent manner.

Abstract

While aggression is an adaptive behavior mostly triggered by competition for resources, it can also in and of itself be rewarding. Based on the common notion that female rats are not aggressive, much of aggression research has been centered around males, leading to a gap in the understanding of the female aggression neurobiology. Therefore, we asked whether intact virgin female rats experience reward from an aggressive interaction and assessed aggression seeking behavior in rats of both sexes. To validate the involvement of reward signaling, we measured mesolimbic dopamine turnover and determined the necessity of dopamine signaling for expression of aggression-seeking. Together our data indicate that female rats exhibit aggressive behavior outside of maternal context, experience winning aggressive behaviors as rewarding, and do so to a similar extent as male rats and in a dopamine-dependent manner.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:27 October 2023
Deposited On:24 Jan 2024 09:28
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2158-3188
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-023-02608-x
PubMed ID:37891191
Project Information:
  • : FunderKnut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderRagnar Söderbergs stiftelse
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)