ACTH and vasopressin treatments immediately after a defeat increase future submissiveness in male mice

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Science  22 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4399, pp. 1343-1344
DOI: 10.1126/science.221973


Male mice were given a single injection of either adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or lysine vasopressin immediately after a defeat in an encounter with an aggressive male mouse. The defeated mice were tested for submissiveness at either 24 hours, 48 hours, or 7 days after the initial encounter. Both hormone treatments increased future submissiveness, although the time courses of the effects were different: The effects of ACTH disappeared after 48 hours, whereas those of vasopressin persisted for 7 days. These results suggest that changes in peptide hormone levels following naturally stressful experiences can affect the memory of those experiences, as expressed in future adaptive responses.