The role of serotonin, vasopressin, and serotonin/vasopressin interactions in aggressive behavior

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Aggression control has been investigated across species and is centrally mediated within various brain regions by several neural systems that interact at different levels. The debate over the degree to which any one system or region affects aggressive responding, or any behavior for that matter, in some senses is arbitrary considering the plastic and adaptive properties of the central nervous system. Nevertheless, from the reductionist point of view, the compartmentalization of evolutionarily maladaptive behaviors to specific regions and systems of the brain is necessary for the advancement of clinical treatments (e.g., pharmaceutical) and novel therapeutic methods (e.g., deep brain stimulation). The general purpose of this chapter is to examine the confluence of two such systems, and how their functional interaction affects aggressive behavior. Specifically, the influence of the serotonin (5HT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) neural systems on the control of aggressive behavior will be examined individually and together to provide a context by which the understanding of aggression modulation can be expanded from seemingly parallel neuromodulatory mechanisms, to a single and highly interactive system of aggression control.




Morrison, T. R., & Melloni, R. H. (2014). The role of serotonin, vasopressin, and serotonin/vasopressin interactions in aggressive behavior. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, 17, 189–228.

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