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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2005 Mar;191(3):231-9. Epub 2005 Feb 1.

Amines and motivated behaviors: a simpler systems approach to complex behavioral phenomena.

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Center for Neuroscience, Mind and Behavior, Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA.


Recent investigations in invertebrate neurobiology have opened up new lines of research into the basic roles of behavioral, neurochemical, and physiological effects in complex behavioral phenomena, such as aggression and drug-sensitive reward. This review summarizes a body of quantitative work, which identifies biogenic amines as a pharmacological substrate for motivated behaviors in the crayfish, Orconectes rusticus. Specifically, this paper details progress that has (1) explored links between serotonin and an individual's aggressive state, and (2) demonstrated the existence of crayfish reward systems that are sensitive to human drugs of abuse, such as psychostimulants. First, we summarize a set of experimental approaches that explore aggression in crayfish and the significance of aminergic systems in its control. Agonistic behavior in crustaceans can be characterized within a quantitative framework; different types of behavioral plasticity in aggressive behavior are in need of physiological explanation, and pharmacological intervention involving serotonergic systems bring about characteristic changes in behavior. A second set of experiments demonstrates that psychostimulants (cocaine and D: -amphetamine) serve as rewards when an intra-circulatory infusion is coupled to a distinct visual environment. Work in novel model systems such as crayfish constitutes a useful comparative approach to the study of aggression and drug addiction.

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