Brain Regional Neuropeptide Changes Resulting From Social Defeat

Jaak Panksepp*, Jeffrey Burgdorf, Margery C. Beinfeld, Roger A. Kroes, Joseph R. Moskal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Past work has demonstrated robust brain changes in cholecystokinin (CCK-8) following social defeat. Here the authors analyzed brain regional, CCK-8, substance P, corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), and neuropeptide Y levels in adult male Long-Evans rats defeated in a resident-intruder social aggression paradigm, as indexed by elevated bites received, freezing, and emission of 20-kHz calls. Brains harvested 6 hr after social defeat were dissected into 12 regions (olfactory bulbs, 3 cortical regions [frontal cortex, cortex above the basal ganglia, cortex above the diencephalon], caudate-putamen, basal forebrain, hypothalamus, hippocampus, thalamus, tectum, tegmentum, and lower brain stem). Neuropeptide radioimmunoassays demonstrated the following statistically significant regional changes in defeated rats as compared with nondefeated rats: CCK-8 was reduced in frontal cortex and cortex overlying diencephalon, the olfactory bulbs, caudate-putamen, hippocampus, tectum, and lower brainstem. Neuropeptide Y was elevated in the caudate-putamen. Substance P was elevated in the cortex over the basal ganglia and decreased in basal forebrain. CRF was diminished in the hippocampus. The results highlight more robust CCK modulation by social defeat as compared with 3 other neuropeptide systems involved in brain emotional regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1371
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • aggression
  • cholecystokinin
  • depression
  • neuropeptides
  • social dominance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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