CSF testosterone and 5-HIAA correlate with different types of aggressive behaviors

Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Dec 1;40(11):1067-82. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3223(95)00675-3.


We studied the potential roles of testosterone and serotonin in various forms of aggressive and violent behaviors by measuring each biochemical and behaviour in free-ranging adolescent male nonhuman primates. Our results showed that (1) CSF free testosterone concentrations were positively correlated with overall aggressiveness, but not with measures of impulsivity. (2) CSF 5-HIAA concentrations were negatively correlated with impulsive behavior, and severe, unrestrained aggression, but not with overall rates of aggression. High rates of impulsive behavior were positively correlated with severe, unrestrained aggression, but not overall rates of aggression. (3) Dimensional analyses showed that while subjects with low CSF 5-HIAA exhibited high rates of aggression, high CSF testosterone further augmented rates and intensity of aggression in subjects with low CSF 5-HIAA. We conclude that high CSF free testosterone concentrations are associated with competitive aggression, while low CSF 5-HIAA concentrations are associated with severe aggression which results from impaired impulse control, and perseverance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Social Dominance
  • Telemetry
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid