Estrogen receptor-beta gene disruption potentiates estrogen-inducible aggression but not sexual behaviour in male mice.

Laboratory of Neurobiology and Behaviour, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.
European Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.67). 05/2006; 23(7):1860-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.04703.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aggressive behaviour of gonadally intact male mice is increased by estrogen receptor (ER)-beta gene disruption, whereas sexual behaviour remains unchanged. The elevated aggression levels following ER-beta gene disruption is pronounced during repeated aggression tests in young animals and the first aggression test in adults. In the present study, the roles of ER-beta activation in the regulation of aggressive and sexual behaviour were investigated in gonadectomized ER-beta knockout (betaERKO) and wild-type (WT) male mice treated with various doses of estrogen. Overall, estradiol benzoate (EB) treatment induced higher levels of aggression in betaERKO mice than in WT mice. In WT mice, the levels of aggression induced by EB were highest in the lowest-dose (2.5 microg/day) group and gradually decreased in higher-dosage groups. On the other hand, equally high levels of aggressive behaviour were induced by all three doses of EB in betaERKO mice. A marked genotype difference in dose responses is inferred, such that the ER-alpha-mediated facilitatory action of estrogen is more pronounced at lower and physiological doses and the ER-beta-mediated inhibitory action is only unveiled at higher doses of estrogen. In contrast to aggression, the levels of sexual behaviour induced by EB were not different between betaERKO and WT at either dose of EB (2.5 and 12.5 microg/day) examined. These findings support the notion that ER-beta activation may exert an attenuating action on male aggression induced by estrogen through ER-alpha-mediated brain mechanisms, whereas its effect on male sexual behaviour is relatively small.

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