MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Dayu Lin, PhD
NYU Langone Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Lin: Decades of researchs including those from our labs have identified some key sites for aggressive actions, but the neural substrates of aggressive intention remain unclear. In this study, we designed a task to evaluate the aggressive intention of the mice in the absence of aggression provoking cues (another male mouse) and identified a small hypothalamic area, namely the ventrolateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamus, as a key brain region for aggressive motivation.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Lin: While the aggressive actions vary greatly from species to species, the aggressive motivation is likely to be evolutionary conversed. This current study pinpointed a hypothalamic region essential for not only attack, which arguably could be just a mouse thing, but also for premeditated aggression. The same neural mechanism is likely to applicable to controlling human aggressive intention. We speculate that regardless of the cause of hyper-aggression, if there is a way to specifically suppress activity in this hypothalamic region, aggression is likely to be effectively suppressed.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Lin: From a basic science point of view, we hope to identify a molecular handle that allows us to access this population non-invasively. We also would like to pursue the regions that upstream to this hypothalamic area to understand where is the source of the aggressive intention. Is it within the hypothalamus or from higher cognitive areas, such as prefrontal cortex? We will also be very interested in any collaborative opportunity to study the correlation between hypothalamic activity and violent outbursts in humans.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Lin: Behaviorally, it is also quite surprising that the majority of dominant male mice found the opportunity to attack is rewarding and willing to make effort to obtain such opportunity. In other words, many male mice find “bullying” a weak male mouse as a positive experience. We hope to understand how the reward circuits is recruited in this case and what is the difference between the animals enjoy “bullying” and those do not.
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Hypothalamic control of male aggression-seeking behavior
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Dr. Dayu Lin, PhD (2016). Where Does Aggression Come From? Answer: The Hypothalmus….