Comparison of aggressive behaviour induced by electrical stimulation in the hypothalamus of male and female rats

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Prog Brain Res, Volume 61, p.303-314 (1984)

DOI Name (links to online publication)



Aggression; Animals; behaviour; Castration; Comparative Study; drug effects; Electric Stimulation; electrical stimulation; ELECTRICAL-STIMULATION; Estradiol; Female; Human; Hypothalamus; Male; pharmacology; physiology; RAT; Rats; Sex Characteristics; stim


Sex differences in aggressive behaviour are present in many species. The genders often become aggressive in different ways or in different conditions (Moyer, 1968). Gonadectomy, or conversely treatment with sex hormones often profoundly affects some types of aggressive behaviour, especially intermale and territorial aggression. Since sex hormones do also change brain organization, sex differences in aggression may be attributed to differences within the brain. There is, however, little direct evidence of sex differences in the brain mechanisms involved in aggressive behaviour, mainly because there is little known about the brain mechanisms underlying aggressive behaviour per se. However, aggression induced by stimulation in the hypothalamus of rats has been extensively studied in our laboratory and its behavioural characteristics (Kruk et al., 1979; Koolhaas, 1978; Van der Poel et al., 1982), its localization in the brain (Kruk et al., 1983), its projections (Mos et al., 1982, 1983) and its excitability are well documented (Kruk et al., 1981). Moreover, the behaviour appears to be sensitive to androgen manipulations (Bermond et al., 1982). Therefore, it seems an excellent "model" to study brain mechanisms and sex differences in aggression.