Gene expression of serotonin and dopamine receptors and monoamine oxidase-A in the brain of dominant and subordinate pubertal domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) fed a β-adrenoreceptor agonist

Rosangela Poletto, Heng Wei Cheng, Robert L. Meisel, Brian T. Richert, Jeremy N. Marchant-Forde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aggression is a major source of social stress with negative effects on health and well-being, yet limited information is known about the molecular mechanisms mediating aggressive behavior in swine. Ractopamine (RAC) is a β-adrenoreceptor agonist that enhances growth but increases aggressive behaviors in female pigs. Thus, the effects of RAC, sex, and social rank on the mRNA abundance of genes encoding serotonin and dopamine receptors, and monoamine oxidase (MAO)-A in brains of sub-adult pigs were evaluated. Top dominant and bottom subordinate pigs (16/sex) in pens of 4 pigs were determined, and fed either the control or RAC diets. At day 31, their raphe nuclei (RN), amygdala (AMY), frontal cortex (FC), and hypothalamus (HYP) were dissected; relative mRNA abundance for 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, and D1 receptors, and MAO-A was determined by Q-RT-PCR and data subjected to multivariate linear mixed model analysis and Tukey post-hoc test. Expression of 5-HT1B and MAO-A was suppressed in the AMY of female pigs; 5-HT2B expression was also suppressed in the RN, FC and HYP of females and RN of dominant pigs (P < 0.05). Expression of 5-HT2A was more up-regulated in RN of females compared to males (P < 0.05). Expression of D1 varied in RN and FC mostly as a function of RAC feeding and its interaction with sex and social rank (P < 0.05). While RAC feeding is related to changes in expression of the D1 receptor mRNA, suppression in expression of serotonergic genes detected in the brain of pigs, especially in females independent of social rank, may be mediating the inter-individual offensive aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Volume1381
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 24 2011

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Brain
  • Dopamine
  • Pigs
  • Q-RT-PCR
  • Serotonin

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