Early life stress disrupts peripubertal development of aggression in male mice


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Abstract

To investigate the effects of early life stress on the development of social behaviors in male mice, we examined behavioral responses toward same sex stimulus mice in the social investigation test and aggressive behaviors in peripubertal male mice exposed to maternal separation (MS) during the first 2 weeks of life. MS suppressed aggressive behaviors from 5–9 weeks of age, but had no effect on social investigative behaviors in the social investigation test. Investigation of neuroendocrine bases of behavioral effects of MS showed that MS reduced plasma testosterone levels and decreased arginine vasopressin and increased oxytocin immunoreactivity in the paraventricular nucleus of peripubertal males. These results collectively suggest that early life stress disrupts the development of male aggressive behaviors and associated neuroendocrine systems.

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