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Brain Res. 2014 Mar 17;1553:41-58. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.01.026. Epub 2014 Jan 25.

Neural activity in catecholaminergic populations following sexual and aggressive interactions in the brown anole, Anolis sagrei.

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Department of Biology, Rhodes College, 2000 N Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Biology, Rhodes College, 2000 N Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112, USA.


Social behaviors in vertebrates are modulated by catecholamine (CA; dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) release within the social behavior neural network. Few studies have examined activity across CA populations in relation to social behaviors. The involvement of CAs in social behavior regulation is especially underexplored in reptiles, relative to other amniotes. In this study, we mapped CA populations throughout the brain (excluding retina and olfactory bulb) of the male brown anole lizard, Anolis sagrei, via immunofluorescent visualization of the rate-limiting enzyme for CA synthesis, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Colocalization of TH with the immediate early gene product Fos, an indirect marker of neural activity, also enabled us to relate activity in TH-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons to appetitive and consummatory sexual and aggressive behaviors. We detected most major TH-ir cell populations that are present in other amniotes (within the hypothalamus, midbrain, and hindbrain), although the A15 population was entirely absent. We also detected a few novel or rare cell clusters within the amygdala, medial septum, and inferior raphe. Many CA populations, especially dopaminergic groups, showed increased TH-Fos colocalization in association with appetitive and consummatory sexual behavior expression, while a small number of regions showed increased colocalization in relation to solely consummatory aggression (biting of an opponent). In conclusion, we here map CA populations throughout the brown anole brain and demonstrate evidence for catecholaminergic involvement in appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors and consummatory aggressive behaviors in this species.


Dopamine; Fos; Lizard; Norepinephrine; Social behavior; Tyrosine hydroxylase

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