Scientists carried out a study using 100 male mice that could pave the way for treatment of people with psychiatric disorders. The researchers revealed that a mouse has two types of brain cells that are responsible for controlling aggression levels and sexual desire.
During the study, which was conducted by the researchers from New York University, they found that these cells facilitate communication between two regions of the brain, the posterior amygdala and the hypothalamus.
The findings of the research divulge that behaviour of the mouse changes when these pathways are interfered with.
The scientists observed the levels of mounting and fighting of 100 male mice. They also tracked their neural signals.
The study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience reveals that MPN-signaling cells became most active during sex. On the other hand, VMHvl-signaling cells were most active when mice were involved in confrontation.
So, when the researchers played with their neural activity, they got interesting results. Preventing MPN-signaling cells in the amygdale from sending a message to the hypothalamus made the mice less interested in having sex.
Something similar happened when the scientists blocked VMHvl-signaling cells from relaying a message from the amygdale to the hypothalamus. In this case, the mice became far less aggressive.
When MPN signals were amplified, the mice pursued unresponsive females in a desperate bid to mate. Intensifying VMHvl signals also showed the exaggerated response for aggression.
“Our findings provide new insights into the crucial role played by the posterior amygdala in driving male social behaviors like sex and aggression,” says lead study author Dr Takashi Yamaguchi from NYU Langone Health.