Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Subtype 7 in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis is Essential for Intermale Aggression

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 Feb;41(3):726-35. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.198. Epub 2015 Jul 7.


Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 7 (mGluR7) is a member of group III mGluRs, which localize to the presynaptic active zones of the mammalian central nervous system. Although histological, genetic, and electrophysiological studies ensure the importance of mGluR7, its roles in behavior and physiology remain largely unknown. Using a resident-intruder paradigm, we found a severe reduction in intermale aggressive behavior in mGluR7 knockout (KO) mice. We also found alterations in other social behaviors in male mGluR7 KO mice, including sexual behavior toward male intruders. Because olfaction is critical for rodent social behavior, including aggression, we performed an olfaction test, finding that mGluR7 KO mice failed to show interest in the smell of male urine. To clarify the olfactory deficit, we then exposed mice to urine and analyzed c-Fos-immunoreactivity, discovering a remarkable reduction in neural activity in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) of mGluR7 KO mice. Finally, intra-BNST administration of the mGluR7-selective antagonist 6-(4-methoxyphenyl)-5-methyl-3-pyridin-4-ylisoxazolo[4,5-c]pyridin-4(5H)-one (MMPIP) also reproduced the phenotype of mGluR7 KO mice, including reduced aggression and altered social interaction. Thus mGluR7 may work as an 'enhancer of neural activity' in the BNST and is important for intermale aggression. Our findings demonstrate that mGluR7 is essential for social behavior and innate behavior. Our study on mGluR7 in the BNST will shed light on future therapies for emotional disorders in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / drug effects
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Olfactory Perception / drug effects
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Pyridones / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / genetics
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Septal Nuclei / drug effects
  • Septal Nuclei / metabolism*
  • Urine


  • 6-(4-methoxyphenyl)-5-methyl-3-pyridin-4-ylisoxazonolo(4,5-c)pyridin-4(5H)-one
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Pyridones
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor 7