Regional brain cholecystokinin changes as a function of rough-and-tumble play behavior in adolescent rats

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Brain cholecystokinin (CCK) levels have been shown to be elevated in animals defeated during adult social aggression. The present experiment evaluated whether similar effects are evident in prolonged bouts of juvenile social-play fighting, which tend to switch from largely positive to some negative affect after approximately 15 min into a half-hour play session, as indexed by a gradual shift from positively valenced 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) to negatively valenced 20 kHz USVs. Given the role of CCK in both positive and negative emotional events, we examined levels of CCK-8 in tissue homogenates from 14 brain areas in animals 6 h after a 30 min play bout compared to no-play control animals tested similarly in isolation for 30 min. As with patterns observed following adult defeat, significantly higher CCK levels were evident after play in the posterior neo-cortex compared to no-play control animals (+26%). Levels of CCK were also elevated in the midbrain (+35%). However, unlike in adult aggression, CCK levels were reduced in the hypothalamus (-40%) and basal forebrain (-24%) as compared to no-play animals. Posterior cortex CCK levels were positively correlated to the duration that each animal was pinned (r = +.50) which suggests that elevated CCK in the posterior cortex may be related to the negative aspects of play. Hypothalamic CCK levels were negatively related to dorsal contacts and pins (r's = -.57), and suggest that the lower CCK levels may reflect the more positive valenced aspects of play. The data indicate that CCK utilization in the brain is dynamically responsive to rough-and-tumble play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-177
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Affect
  • Aggression
  • Brain
  • Cholecystokinin
  • Emotion
  • Play
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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