Lateral Hypothalamic Control of Killing: Evidence for a Cholinoceptive Mechanism

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Science  06 Feb 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3919, pp. 900-901
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3919.900


In rats that would not ordinarily kill mice, lateral hypothalamic injection of crystalline carbachol, a cholinomimetic, elicited killing. Norepinephrine, amphetamine, serotonin, and sodium salts were ineffective at the same site. Carbachol was ineffective when injected into the medial, dorsal, or ventral hypothalamus. As additional evidence for a cholinoceptive mechanism, neostigmine elicited killing, and, in spontaneous killers, methyl atropine blocked it. The results indicate that the lateral hypothalamus contains a cholinoceptive component of an innate system that activates killing, and anticholinergic treatment can be used as a means of suppressing killing.

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