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Horm Behav. 2005 Dec;48(5):545-51. Epub 2005 Jun 1.

Repeated agonistic encounters in hamsters modulate AVP V1a receptor binding.

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Department of Psychology, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3966, Atlanta, GA 30302-3966, USA.


Arginine vasopressin (AVP) regulates aggression in male Syrian hamsters. In this study, we used radioligand receptor autoradiography to examine whether changes in agonistic behavior following acute and repeated social defeat are accompanied by changes in AVP V1a receptor binding. Social defeat produced high levels of submissive behavior and a loss of territorial aggression when hamsters were subsequently tested with a novel intruder, and repeated agonistic encounters produced similar behavioral changes in subordinates. AVP V1a receptor binding was not reduced by acute social defeat but was affected by repeated agonistic encounters. Dominants had significantly more AVP V1a receptor binding in lateral portions of the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMHL) than did their subordinate opponents, but subordinates were no different from controls. In contrast, receptor binding did not differ in most other brain regions examined. The changes in receptor binding appear to be independent of testosterone levels, as testosterone levels did not differ among dominants, subordinates, and controls. Our results suggest that changes in AVP V1a receptors do not account for the changes in agonistic behavior produced by acute social defeat but AVP V1a binding in the VMHL correlates with, and may modulate, the behavioral changes that occur following repeated experiences of victory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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