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Aggressive Mouse Brains

March 10, 2016

Researchers probe the neural roots of violence by studying the brains of belligerent mice.

Transcript

Dayu-Lin

Members of Dayu Lin’s lab conducted the research.

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The violent brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Aggressive male mice will repeatedly poke their noses into a trigger that gives them access to a smaller, weaker mouse that they then attack. New York University neuroscientist Dayu Lin says a group of brain cells in the ventromedial hypothalamus is at the heart of this violent behavior, and in the journal Nature Neuroscience, she and her colleagues report that these cells become active before the attack, when the mouse first decides that it feels like doing some bullying.

DAYU LIN (New York University Langone Medical Center):

So here what we show is that actually this region, even when they are just thinking about the future aggressions is also involved. This region is important for the planning and the seeking of this aggression opportunities.

HIRSHON:

Now the team is exploring what other brain cells may be involved in aggression, and differences in this brain region between males and females.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.