Increased sensitivity of the serotonergic system during the breeding season in free-living American tree sparrows

Todd S Sperry, Ignacio T Moore, Simone L Meddle, Z Morgan Benowitz-Fredericks, John C Wingfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In order to understand the physiological role of serotonin in regulating aggressive behaviour it is important to understand how this neuromodulator acts within the context of a naturally fluctuating social and physical environment. To accomplish this, we examined the effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine during the breeding season in free-living male American tree sparrows (Spizella arborea) in Northern Alaska. During this time period males are maximally aggressive towards territorial intruders. Male, territorial sparrows were injected with either vehicle or a 10 mg/kg dose of fluoxetine. One hour later, aggression was measured using a simulated territorial intrusion. Depending upon when birds were sampled, the aggression scores for vehicle and fluoxetine treatments were grouped according to the number of days after territorial behaviour was initiated. The three groups were: early, days 1-5; middle, days 6-10; and late, days 11-15. There was a significant overall difference between groups (F(5,36)=5.18, P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-26
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume157
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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