Adrenal Response to Fighting in Mice: Separation of Physical and Psychological Causes

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Science  05 Feb 1965:
Vol. 147, Issue 3658, pp. 627-628
DOI: 10.1126/science.147.3658.627


The concentration of unbound corticosterone in mice exposed to the presence of a trained fighter is much greater if the mice have previously experienced physical defeat than if they have not. There is little difference in the concentration of the hormone between mice placed in the presence of a fighter, given a background of physical defeat, and mice actually attacked and defeated. Two possible categories of stimuli which could be responsible for hyperactivity of the adrenal cortex following defeat by another mouse are psychological and physical (for example, bite wounds); the former is apparently by far the more important under the conditions of these experiments.