Effect of intraseptal vasotocin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide infusions on courtship song and aggression in the male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

J Neuroendocrinol. 1999 Jan;11(1):19-25. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2826.1999.00284.x.


The present experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that septal arginine vasotocin (AVT) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) modulate directed song (a courtship behaviour) and aggression in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Subjects were surgically fitted with a guide cannula directed at the septum. Following recovery they were tested for aggression and directed song following infusions of AVT, its antagonist (anti-vasopressin, AVP), and saline volume control. Infusion of the AVT antagonist significantly reduced all three aggressive behaviours measured (pecks, beak fences and chases); and AVT infusion significantly facilitated beak fencing. Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide treatment significantly reduced pecking. No treatment produced a change in directed song. Comparison with findings in mammals suggests that modulation of aggression by septal AVT (or AVP) is evolutionarily conserved in vertebrates, but modulation of aggression by VIP has not previously been reported for any vertebrate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Aggression / physiology
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Septum Pellucidum / drug effects*
  • Septum Pellucidum / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Songbirds / physiology*
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / administration & dosage*
  • Vasotocin / administration & dosage*
  • Vocalization, Animal / drug effects*
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology


  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Vasotocin