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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1991 Dec;40(4):751-6.

Evidence for the involvement of central serotonin in mechanism of domestication of silver foxes.

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Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Academy of Science of the USSR, Novosibirsk.


Silver foxes selected for more than 30 years for tame behavior and displaying no defensive reaction to human contact were shown to have a higher serotonin level in midbrain and hypothalamus, and a higher 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) content in midbrain, hypothalamus and hippocampus in comparison to nonselected wild silver foxes bred in captivity over the same time span. Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) activity in midbrain and hypothalamus in domesticated foxes was increased as compared with their aggressive/defensive counterparts. Monoamine oxidase type A (MAO A) activity was was decreased with an increased Km and unchanged Vmax in domesticated foxes. No changes in specific [3H]ketanserin or [3H]8-OH-DPAT binding in frontal cortex was revealed. A reduced density (Bmax) of 5HT1A receptors in hypothalamic membranes in domesticated foxes was shown. It is suggested that the brain serotonergic system is involved in the mechanism of domestication converting wild aggressive/defensive animals into tame ones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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