Nav: Home

Journal of Neuroscience study explains what makes aggressive mice so violent

June 11, 2018

Corresponding Author: Scott Russo, PhD, Director of the Center for Affective Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and other coauthors.

Bottom Line: Despite sharing core features with drug addiction, the mechanisms underlying aggression are far less understood. One shared mechanism may involve a transcription factor called (FosB), which builds up in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a reward region of the brain, in response to many different rewarding experiences including sex and exercise, suggesting the possibility of reducing aggression by targeting FosB in the NAc.

Results: Higher levels of FosB in NAc neurons were associated with more intense behaviors by aggressive mice defending their home cage from an intruder. Overexpressing FosB in aggressive mice also increased their dominance over an opponent when they faced each other in a narrow tube. While increased FosB in dopamine D1 receptor expressing medium spiny neurons (D1-MSNs) was associated with increased aggression intensity, mice with increased FosB in D2-MSNs showed less preference for an environment where they previously encountered an intruder.

Why the Research Is Interesting: These results identify distinct roles of FosB in two difference NAc cell types that regulate aggressive behavior and its rewarding qualities, identifying molecular targets for developing new treatments for aggression.

Paper Title: Cell-Type-Specific Role of FosB in Nucleus Accumbens in Modulating Intermale Aggression

Said Mount Sinai's Dr. Scott Russo of the research: "Heightened aggression or violence is a symptom of almost all psychiatric conditions, including addiction, yet we know very little about its underlying mechanisms. This study is among the first to report a shared molecular mechanisms underlying aggression and addiction, however, further work is needed to determine whether FosB also underlies aggressive disorders co-morbid with addiction in humans."
To request a copy of the paper or to schedule an interview with Dr. Scott Russo, please contact Mount Sinai's Director of Media and Public Affairs, Elizabeth Dowling, at or at 212 241-9200.

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Related Aggression Articles:

Declawing linked to aggression and other abnormal behaviors in cats
According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery*, declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting.
New study links brain stem volume and aggression in autism
New research from autism experts is providing clues into the link between aggression and autism -- clues the team hopes will eventually lead to more effective intervention.
Direct link between sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them
There is a direct relation between the sexual objectification of girls and aggression towards them, research by psychologists at the University of Kent has shown.
Transsexual people are frequently victims of aggression and discrimination
The process of gender reassignment in transsexual individuals is complex.
The hormone cortisol has been linked to increased aggression in 10-year-old boys
Spanish researchers have studied the relationship between hormones and aggressive behavior in girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 10.
Why is impulsive aggression in children so difficult to treat?
Maladaptive and impulsive aggression is explosive, triggered by routine environmental cues, and intended to harm another person, making it a significant challenge for clinicians, family members, and others who interact with affected children and adolescents.
Does sexual aggression alter the female brain?
Thirty percent of women worldwide experience some kind of physical or sexual assault during their lifetime.
Aggression causes new nerve cells to be generated in the brain
A group of neurobiologists from Russia and the USA, including Dmitry Smagin, Tatyana Michurina, and Grigori Enikolopov from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, have proven experimentally that aggression has an influence on the production of new nerve cells in the brain.
Orangutans: Lethal aggression between females
Researchers have for the first time witnessed the death of a female orangutan at the hands of another female.
Antidepressants double the risk of aggression and suicide in children
Children and adolescents have a doubled risk of aggression and suicide when taking one of the five most commonly prescribed antidepressants, according to findings of a study published in The BMJ today.

Related Aggression Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".