The Ventral Hippocampus Controls Stress-Provoked Impulsive Aggression through the Ventromedial Hypothalamus in Post-Weaning Social Isolation Mice

Cell Rep. 2019 Jul 30;28(5):1195-1205.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.005.


Impulsively aggressive individuals may suddenly attack others when under stress, but the neural circuitry underlying stress-provoked aggression is poorly understood. Here, we report that acute stress activates ventral hippocampus (vHip) neurons to induce attack behavior in post-weaning socially isolated mice. Chemogenetic inhibition of vHip neural activity blunts stress-provoked attack behavior, whereas chemogenetic activation promotes it. The activation of cell bodies in vHip neurons projecting into the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) induces attack behavior, suggesting that the vHip-VMH projection contributes to impulsive aggression. Furthermore, optogenetic inhibition of vHip glutamatergic neurons blocks stress-provoked attacks, whereas optogenetic activation of vHip glutamatergic neurons drives attack behavior. These results show direct evidence that vHip-VMH neural circuitry modulates attack behavior in socially isolated mice.

Keywords: acute stress; chemogenetic; impulsive aggression; optogenetic approaches; ventral hippocampus; ventromedial hypothalamus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't