Aggression is conceived as a social behavior that, in conjunct with motor and visceral displays, is related with acts for obtaining a specific goal or is directed against threatening stimuli with the intention of causing harm, either for attack or defense. Here it is reviewed basic concepts and aspects for the classification of aggression, the behavioral displays regarded as aggressive in animal models, the basic neural circuits that are involved to them and the pharmacological approaches involving some neurotransmitters (5-HT, dopamine and GABA) and drugs that can be used to identify the neural basis of aggression and to modulate its expression. Drug patents are referred in the text. Data are based on experiments developed mainly with rodents; however, some research hypotheses that may well give some insights for the clinical sciences in men were also included.
Aggressive behavior, brain circuits, amygdaloid complex, medial amygdala, neurotransmitters, psychopharmacology, dopamine, GABA, serotonin
Fundacao Faculdade Federal de Ciencias Medicas, Department of Physiological Sciences, R. Sarmento Leite 245, Porto Alegre, RS 90050-170, Brazil.