Publication

Animal models: Implications for human aggression and violence

de Boer, S. 2017 Aggression and Violence: A Social Psychological Perspective. Bushman, B. (ed.). New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis group, p. 22-45

Research output: ScientificChapter

A large body of animal neurobehavioral research convincingly demonstrates that abnormal expressions of aggressive behavior principally find their origin in a dys- regulation of the deeply rooted neuronal circuits and/or neurochemical pathways in the brain that mediate normal social affective-aggressive behaviors.This highly conserved neural and gene expression brain network encompasses neurons in the mesencephalon projecting to hypothalamic areas, amygdaloid, septal, prefrontal, and hippocampal forebrain regions, striatal and thalamic loops with the frontal and prefrontal cortex, as well as important feedback loops to limbic and mesence- phalic nuclei.The structural and functional properties of this social behavior brain network are established and constantly shaped by a dynamic interplay of genetic and environmental factors (stress, maltreatment, vicarious experiences, substance abuse), in particular during certain sensitive (i.e., perinatal and adolescent) devel- opmental periods. Undisputedly, among the neurochemical systems that are con- sidered key signaling molecules in this neurocircuitry controlling aggression are the canonical monoamines serotonin and dopamine, the “social” neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin, the “stress” neuropeptide CRF, the “stress” HPA-axis and “sex” HPG-axis’s steroid hormones (corticosterone, testosterone, estrogen), and their cognate receptors. Genetic studies in both humans and animals have demonstrated that polymorphisms or mutations in a number of genes regulating the functional activity of these important signaling molecules may confer risk factors, sometimes alone but usually in co-action with (early) adverse and stressful lifeconditions,fordevelopmentofantisocialaggressivetraits.Particularly,fromthe viewpoint of targeting novel molecular sites for intervention, the intrinsic 5-HT autoregulatory mechanisms (i.e., the presynaptic 5-HT1A/B autoreceptors and 5-HT reuptake transporter), and extrinsic neuropeptidergic (i.e., OXT, AVP, and CRF) and steroid receptor (i.e., mineralo-/glucocorticoid receptor [MR/GR] and androgen receptor [AR]) modulatory influences of 5-HT signaling are emerging as important molecular determinants of (escalated) aggression regula- tion. Although early efforts during the 1950s and 1960s to translate preclinical neurobiological aggression research findings into clinical use have a sordid history,
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAggression and Violence
Subtitle of host publicationA Social Psychological Perspective
EditorsBrad Bushman
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis group
Pages22-45
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-52469-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-85988-3
StatePublished - 2017

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