Neural responses to aggressive challenge correlate with behavior in nonbreeding sparrows

Neuroreport. 2005 Oct 17;16(15):1719-23. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000183898.47160.15.


The present study was conducted on captive male song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) during the nonbreeding season in order to (1) examine Fos and Zenk responses of basal forebrain sites to simulated territorial intrusion and (2) determine how those responses relate to aggression. Numerous forebrain areas showed significant Fos and Zenk responses to simulated territorial intrusion, and in several areas of the hypothalamus and lateral septum, these responses were negatively correlated with aggressive behavior. Homologous areas in mammals show greater responses in subordinate subjects than in dominant subjects. Thus, these brain areas may be responsive to social stressors across a wide range of vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology
  • Genes, fos / genetics
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Seasons
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Sparrows / physiology*
  • Territoriality


  • Dehydroepiandrosterone