Institution: Washington College
Research has revealed an inverse relationship between serotonin (5-HT) levels in the brain and aggressive behavior. However, effects on aggression at the level of the receptor have yet to be elucidated for many 5-HT receptor subtypes. This study examined the effects of the 5-HT3 receptor agonist m-chlorophenylbiguanide (mCPBG) and antagonist ondansetron on inter-male aggression in mice. Using a resident-intruder paradigm designed to assess both offensive and defensive aggression, male C57BL/6J mice received 1 mg/kg i.p. injections of either mCPBG, ondansetron, or an inactive vehicle and were subsequently exposed to male AKR/J mice for a period of 10 minutes. Attack latency and the proportion of time engaged in a range of defensive behaviors were recorded. Subject C57BL/6J mice were then immediately run in an open field test for an additional 10 minutes to examine any anxiolytic or sedative effects of the drugs. Results show no significant differences between drug groups in either offensive or defensive behavior. No significant differences were observed between drug groups and open field activity; however, significant differences were seen between the offensive and defensive condition in the open field. In conclusion, this study fails to reveal any significant effects of the 5-HT3 agents on inter-male aggression, which may reflect a functional difference between the 5-HT3 receptor and the remaining G-protein coupled 5-HT receptor. However, this conclusion is limited by the large variance in behavior combined with small sample sizes, or the possibility of a drug dose insufficient for behavioral effects.