Brain tweak makes wimps mighty

Brain connections affect social status in mice

source: New Scientist vol 212 no 2833, October 8 2011 p16

Connections in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) of the brains of mice affect their social status. Hailan Hu, from Shanghai's Chinese Institute of Neuroscience, tested mouse pairs for dominance. After infection with a virus carrying a gene that strengthens electrical signals in the MPFC, mice that were subordinate became dominant. Mice that were dominant became subordinate after implantation of a gene that reduced the electrical signals. Stronger connections may help mice to control aggression, anger and emotion.