Play fighting and corticotropin-releasing hormone in the lateral septum of golden hamsters.

PMID 20417693


This study was focused on determining the possible role of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) on play fighting in juvenile golden hamsters. As no specific neural sites have been proposed, we looked for changes in CRH innervations at the peak of play-fighting activity on postnatal day 35 (P-35) from a week before on P-28. We noted that the increase in play-fighting activity between these two dates was associated with a 100% increase of the density of CRH fibers within the lateral septum. We, then, tested the possible role of CRH receptors on play fighting within the lateral septum through microinjections of alpha-helical CRH, a CRH receptor antagonist (either 0, 30, or 300 ng), directly into the area. The treatments inhibited play-fighting attacks and pins as well as reduced the duration of time that the resident hamsters spent in contact with the intruders, though locomotor activity remained unaffected. The possible source of CRH release in the lateral septum was addressed by quantification of CRH neurons also labeled with a marker of cellular activity, c-Fos, after consummation of play fighting. CRH neurons in the horizontal part of the diagonal band, an area reciprocally connected with the lateral septum, showed a 75% increase in double labeling with c-Fos as compared to controls. Together, these data show that CRH receptors in the lateral septum have a general role on play fighting, not just facilitating its consummation, but also likely enhancing appetitive aspects as well. In addition, this effect is associated with enhanced CRH availability in the area and enhanced neuronal activity within interconnected areas.

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C2917 Corticotropin Releasing Factor Antagonist, ≥97% (HPLC)