When facing stressful conditions, some people tend to be impulsively aggressive whereas others are not. However, the causes and underlying mechanisms remain elusive. It has been reported that acute stress induces outbursts of aggression in post-weaning social isolation (SI) mice but not in group housing (GH) mice. Here we report epigenetic regulation of impulsive aggression in SI mice. At post-natal day 21, mice were randomly assigned to GH or SI groups. We found that SI mice exhibited a higher level of microRNA 206 (miR-206) compared with GH mice. Intra-hippocampal injection of AM206, an antagomir of miR-206, decreased stress-induced attack behavior in SI mice and increased BDNF expression. Moreover, BDNF expression was required for AM206 effects on the reduction of aggression. On the other hand, miR-206 overexpression in GH mice induced attack behavior. Intranasal administration of AM206 rather than a scramble control significantly reduced attack behavior and depression-like behavior in SI mice. Our results suggest that miR-206 mediates development of maladaptive impulsive aggression in early life adversity and that its antagomir could potentially be a therapeutic target against stress-exacerbated aggressive behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Drug Discovery