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J Neuroendocrinol. 1999 Jan;11(1):19-25.

Effect of intraseptal vasotocin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide infusions on courtship song and aggression in the male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

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Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The present experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that septal arginine vasotocin (AVT) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) modulate directed song (a courtship behaviour) and aggression in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Subjects were surgically fitted with a guide cannula directed at the septum. Following recovery they were tested for aggression and directed song following infusions of AVT, its antagonist (anti-vasopressin, AVP), and saline volume control. Infusion of the AVT antagonist significantly reduced all three aggressive behaviours measured (pecks, beak fences and chases); and AVT infusion significantly facilitated beak fencing. Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide treatment significantly reduced pecking. No treatment produced a change in directed song. Comparison with findings in mammals suggests that modulation of aggression by septal AVT (or AVP) is evolutionarily conserved in vertebrates, but modulation of aggression by VIP has not previously been reported for any vertebrate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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