Single aggressive and non-aggressive social interactions elicit distinct behavioral patterns to the context in mice

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Aggressive interactions between conspecific animals have been used as a social stressor with ethological characteristics to study how social interactions can modulate animal's behavior. Here, a new protocol based on aggressive and non-aggressive interactions was developed to study how different social interactions can alter the behavioral profile of animals re-exposed to the context in which the interaction occurred. We used factor analysis to trace the behavioral profile of socially defeated and non-defeated mice when they were re-exposed to the apparatus [three interconnected chambers: home chamber, tunnel and surface area]; we also compared the behavior presented before (habituation) and 24 h after (re-exposure) the non-aggressive or aggressive interactions. A final factor analysis from defeated animals yielded 4 factors that represented 72.09% of total variance; whereas non-defeated animal's analysis was loaded with 5 factors that represented 85.46% of total variance. A 5-min non-aggressive interaction reduced the frequency of stretched attend behavior in the tunnel, whereas a single social defeat reduced time in the tunnel and increased time spent performing self-grooming in the home chamber without conditioning any other spatio-temporal and complementary measures. Together, these results suggest that different social interactions may modulate distinct behavioral profiles in animals when re-exposed to the context.



Contextual conditioning, Contextual memory, Self-grooming, Social defeat

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Behavioural Processes.