Aggressive-Behavior Induced by Electrical-Stimulation in the Midbrain Central Gray of Male-Rats

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Aggressive Behavior, Volume 8, Number 3, p.261-284 (1982)



DOI Name (links to online publication)



Aggression; aggressive behavior; AGGRESSIVE-BEHAVIOR; Behavior; electrical stimulation; ELECTRICAL-STIMULATION; Electrodes; Hypothalamic; Hypothalamus; LATERAL HYPOTHALAMUS; Locomotion; MALE-RATS; MIDBRAIN CENTRAL GRAY; Network; PART; pharmacology; RAT; R


Electrical stimulation via electrodes implanted in the lateral hypothalamus may induce intraspecific aggressive behavior. Small electrolytic lesions placed via these electrodes resulted in a five- to tenfold increase in the current threshold for aggression. Degenerating fibers were stained by means of the Fink-Heimer method and could be followed caudally to the dorsal midbrain central gray and to the mammillary bodies. A few axons could be traced rostrally to the medial septum. Aggression could be induced from 10 of 112 electrodes implanted in the central gray; the other electrodes elicited either locomotion, vocalization, jump, or alarm-like reactions. The morphology of the induced aggression was similar to the morphology of the hypothalamically induced aggression, though it was often accompanied with motor disturbances and was less intense. Hypothalamic stimulation was combined with simultaneous central gray stimulation in rats with electrodes both in the hypothalamus and in the central gray. Hypothalamic thresholds for aggression could be lowered by this stimulation of the central gray, even when no aggressive responses were observed during central gray stimulation alone. This suggests that, although aggression is not manifest, electrical stimulation may activate neural tissue involved in aggressive behavior. It is concluded that in rats central gray and hypothalamus are part of the same neural network mediating intraspecific aggression.