Stress hormones and aggression

Animal models of human pathologies
  • József Haller
  • Menno R. Kruk


The field of aggression research would profit tremendously if research on animals and humans interacted as intensively as it happens in the field of anxiety, depression, epilepsy and other medically defined fields. The multiple emotional, political, and historical reasons why integration in the field of aggression research is comparatively modest, have been reviewed1. It is clear that the association between animal and human aggression in general is an emotional topic that raises a series of concerns. In contrast, pathological forms of human aggression are more easily perceived as being caused by “biological” malfunctions. Laboratory research has contributed substantially to the understanding of biological bases of aggressiveness. Aggression controlling brain centers, neurotransmitter systems, and hormonal factors have been identified2–9. Based on this information, procedures have been developed to “cure” pathological forms of violence including surgery5, 10, 11 and drug treatment12–16. We argue here for the involvement of stress hormones (glucocorticoids) in pathological forms of aggression in both animals and humans. We suggest that experimentally induced perturbations in glucocorticoid synthesis can be used as animal models for abnormal human violence. Such models can also be used for testing the anti-aggressive drugs.


Stress Hormone Salivary Cortisol Pathological Form Ultradian Rhythm Glucocorticoid Secretion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • József Haller
    • 1
  • Menno R. Kruk
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Experimental MedicineBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Leiden-Amsterdam Center for Drug ResearchSection Medical PharmacologyLeidenThe Netherlands

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