Chapter

Photoperiodic Regulation of Estrogen-Dependent Aggression

Sarah A. Laredo and Brian C. Trainor

in Brain Aromatase, Estrogens, and Behavior

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841196
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979837 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841196.003.0021

Series: Oxford Series in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

Photoperiodic Regulation of Estrogen-Dependent Aggression

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Steroid hormones, including estrogens, play an important role in regulating aggressive behaviors in many vertebrate species. Recent studies have demonstrated that the effects of estrogens on aggressive behaviors are dependent on experience. Studies in the rodent genus Peromyscus indicate that estrogens affect aggressive behavior through different mechanisms under different photoperiod schedules. Under winter-like short days, estrogens were found to act rapidly to increase aggression whereas these rapid effects were absent under long days. In contrast estrogens were found to decrease aggression in mice in long days. Our working hypothesis for these results is that rapid effects of estrogens under short days are mediated by nongenomic pathways whereas the longer term effects of estrogens under long days are mediated by the transcriptional effects of estrogens. These data suggest the molecular pathways downstream of estrogen receptors may be subject to regulation by salient environmental cues such as photoperiod.

Keywords: aggression; estradiol; extracellular signal-regulated kinase; melatonin; nongenomic; Peromyscus; photoperiod; social behavior

Chapter.  7783 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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