Strain differences in intermale aggression and possible factors regulating increased aggression in Japanese quail

Fumihiko Maekawa, Koki Nagino, Jiaxin Yang, Nang T.T. Htike, Shinji Tsukahara, Takayoshi Ubuka, Kazuyoshi Tsutsui, Takaharu Kawashima

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) of Japan established a strain of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) known as NIES-L by rotation breeding in a closed colony for over 35years; accordingly, the strain has highly inbred-like characteristics. Another strain called NIES-Brn has been maintained by randomized breeding in a closed colony to produce outbred-like characteristics. The current study aimed to characterize intermale aggressive behaviors in both strains and to identify possible factors regulating higher aggression in the hypothalamus, such as sex hormone and neuropeptide expression. Both strains displayed a common set of intermale aggressive behaviors that included pecking, grabbing, mounting, and cloacal contact behavior, although NIES-Brn quail showed significantly more grabbing, mounting, and cloacal contact behavior than did NIES-L quail. We examined sex hormone levels in the blood and diencephalon in both strains. Testosterone concentrations were significantly higher in the blood and diencephalon of NIES-Brn quail compared to NIES-L quail. We next examined gene expression in the hypothalamus of both strains using an Agilent gene expression microarray and real-time RT-PCR and found that gene expression of mesotocin (an oxytocin homologue) was significantly higher in the hypothalamus of NIES-Brn quail compared to NIES-L quail. Immunohistochemistry of the hypothalamus revealed that numbers of large cells (cell area>500μm2) expressing mesotocin were significantly higher in the NIES-Brn strain compared to the NIES-L strain. Taken together, our findings suggest that higher testosterone and mesotocin levels in the hypothalamus may be responsible for higher aggression in the NIES-Brn quail strain.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017 Apr 25

    Fingerprint

    Coturnix
    strain differences
    Aggression
    aggression
    quails
    Quail
    hypothalamus
    Hypothalamus
    sex hormones
    Diencephalon
    gene expression
    testosterone
    Gonadal Steroid Hormones
    Gene Expression
    Breeding
    Testosterone
    Coturnix japonica
    pecking
    oxytocin
    blood

    Keywords

    • Aggression
    • Hypothalamus
    • Japanese quail
    • Mesotocin
    • Neuropeptide
    • Testosterone

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Endocrinology

    Cite this

    Strain differences in intermale aggression and possible factors regulating increased aggression in Japanese quail. / Maekawa, Fumihiko; Nagino, Koki; Yang, Jiaxin; Htike, Nang T.T.; Tsukahara, Shinji; Ubuka, Takayoshi; Tsutsui, Kazuyoshi; Kawashima, Takaharu.

    In: General and Comparative Endocrinology, 25.04.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Maekawa, Fumihiko ; Nagino, Koki ; Yang, Jiaxin ; Htike, Nang T.T. ; Tsukahara, Shinji ; Ubuka, Takayoshi ; Tsutsui, Kazuyoshi ; Kawashima, Takaharu. / Strain differences in intermale aggression and possible factors regulating increased aggression in Japanese quail. In: General and Comparative Endocrinology. 2017.
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    abstract = "The National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) of Japan established a strain of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) known as NIES-L by rotation breeding in a closed colony for over 35years; accordingly, the strain has highly inbred-like characteristics. Another strain called NIES-Brn has been maintained by randomized breeding in a closed colony to produce outbred-like characteristics. The current study aimed to characterize intermale aggressive behaviors in both strains and to identify possible factors regulating higher aggression in the hypothalamus, such as sex hormone and neuropeptide expression. Both strains displayed a common set of intermale aggressive behaviors that included pecking, grabbing, mounting, and cloacal contact behavior, although NIES-Brn quail showed significantly more grabbing, mounting, and cloacal contact behavior than did NIES-L quail. We examined sex hormone levels in the blood and diencephalon in both strains. Testosterone concentrations were significantly higher in the blood and diencephalon of NIES-Brn quail compared to NIES-L quail. We next examined gene expression in the hypothalamus of both strains using an Agilent gene expression microarray and real-time RT-PCR and found that gene expression of mesotocin (an oxytocin homologue) was significantly higher in the hypothalamus of NIES-Brn quail compared to NIES-L quail. Immunohistochemistry of the hypothalamus revealed that numbers of large cells (cell area>500μm2) expressing mesotocin were significantly higher in the NIES-Brn strain compared to the NIES-L strain. Taken together, our findings suggest that higher testosterone and mesotocin levels in the hypothalamus may be responsible for higher aggression in the NIES-Brn quail strain.",
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