Alcohol, benzodiazepine-GABA(A) receptor complex and aggression: Ethological analysis of individual differences in rodents and primates

K. A. Miczek, E. M. Weerts, J. F. DeBold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research in animals has only recently been successful in reliably mimicking the long-established link between alcohol and heightened aggressive behavior. The present review highlights the large individual differences in the effects of acute low alcohol doses on aggressive behavior in rodent and primate species, paralleling the human condition. Subpopulations of both species show reliable and repeatable enhancement of aggressive behavior when administered low, acute alcohol doses. Statistical analysis of the temporal patterns of aggressive behavior indicate that alcohol prolongs aggressive bouts or 'bursts' and increases the number of aggressive behaviors within each burst. However, the latency to initiate attack and the time between aggressive bursts are relatively unaltered by alcohol. These alcohol-induced increases in aggression can be potentiated by benzodiazepine agonists and prevented by antagonists. In addition, highly aggressive animals can be differentiated from nonaggressive ones at the GABA(A)-benzodiazepine receptor complex. These data suggest an important link between alcohol, aggression and the GABA(A)-benzodiazepine receptor complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Volume54
Issue numberSUPPL. 11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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