Scientists from Columbia University have identified a region of the brain that helps animals to identify opponents and allies.
The area called CA2 is part of the hippocampus, which has a huge impact on our memory of people, places, things and events, reports Medical Xpress.
Image of neurons in the CA2 area of the mouse
Doctors found that this area of the brain controls social memory and aggression.
“Experiments on mice have shown that CA2 miniature, consisting of only several thousand cells, acts as a liaison of social behavior, allowing the memory to influence the decision to engage in social aggression,” says one of the researchers Stephen Zigelbaum (Steven A. Siegelbaum).
To determine how plot affects the hippocampus on social behavior, doctors examined the brain regions that receive information directly from CA2. They found that this area of the hippocampus sends signals in the lateral septum (lateral septum), which plays an important role in the suppression of aggression.
Early studies showed that lesions of the lateral septum in several species, including humans, contribute to hyperaggressive behavior.
The doctors decided to see this and have temporarily disabled the CA2 mouse, living alone. Then it into the cage hoisted opponent and watched the subsequent behavior.
While CA2 was turned off, the mouse hardly showed aggression compared to their healthy condition. Scientists believe that CA2 usually acts as a driving force of aggressive behavior, in addition to the regulation of social memory.
But why is the area of the brain that controls memory, is also used for aggression?
“It seems that in early social interactions, for example, when the mouse encounters a rival, CA2 forms the social memory, like an identification mark with another mouse. The generated signal is sent to the lateral septum, which leads to aggressive behavior,” says study author Felix Leroy (Leroy Felix).
Not the last role for vasopressin, the hormone which regulates social behavior, so the team decided to establish its function
“We found that the ability of cells to efficiently activate CA2 side wall is considerably increased, when lateral septum is released vasopressin. Previous studies have shown the link between vasopressin and aggression, and CA2, it seems, at the head of this effect,” that Zigelbaum.
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Dave Zakarian has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Koz Post, Dave Zakarian worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella.