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Trends Neurosci. 2014 Nov;37(11):674-82. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Aug 24.

The mouse that roared: neural mechanisms of social hierarchy.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience and State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.
2
The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, The Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam 1019 RG, The Netherlands. Electronic address: h.kessels@nin.knaw.nl.
3
Institute of Neuroscience and State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China. Electronic address: hailan@ion.ac.cn.

Abstract

Hierarchical social status greatly influences behavior and health. Human and animal studies have begun to identify the brain regions that are activated during the formation of social hierarchies. They point towards the prefrontal cortex (PFC) as a central regulator, with brain areas upstream of the PFC conveying information about social status, and downstream brain regions executing dominance behavior. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the neural circuits that control social status. We discuss how the neural mechanisms for various types of dominance behavior can be studied in laboratory rodents by selective manipulation of neuronal activity or synaptic plasticity. These studies may help in finding the cause of social stress-related mental and physical health problems.

KEYWORDS:

dominance; hierarchy; mPFC; neuronal circuit; social status; synaptic plasticity; tube test

PMID:
25160682
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2014.07.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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