Thomas R. Morrison, Lesley A. Ricci, Richard H. Melloni Jr
Previously, we have shown that anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) exposure throughout adolescence stimulates offensive aggression while also reducing anxious behaviors during the exposure period. Interestingly, AAS exposure through development correlates with alterations to the serotonin system in regions known to contain 5HT3 receptors that influence the control of both aggression and anxiety. Despite these effects, little is known about whether these separate developmental AAS-induced behavioral alterations occur as a function of a common neuroanatomical locus. To begin to address this question, we localized 5HT3 receptors in regions that have been implicated in aggression and anxiety. To examine the impact these receptors may have on AAS alterations to behavior, we microinjected the 5HT3 agonist mCPBG directly into a region know for its influence over aggressive behavior, the lateral division of the anterior hypothalamus, and recorded alterations to anxious behaviors using the elevated plus maze. AAS exposure primarily reduced the presence of 5HT3 receptors in aggression/anxiety regions. Accordingly, mCPBG blocked the anxiolytic effects of adolescent AAS exposure. These data suggest that the 5HT3 receptor plays a critical role in the circuit modulating developmental AAS-induced changes to both aggressive and anxious behaviors, and further implicates the lateral division of the anterior hypothalamus as an important center for the negative behavioral effects of developmental AAS-exposure.