Oct. 19, 2018 (MedicalXpress) -- Duke-NUS researchers have discovered that a growth factor protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and its receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) affects social dominance in mice.
The research has implications for understanding the neurobiology of aggression and bullying.
"Humans and rodents are social animals. Our every interaction follows rules according to a social hierarchy. Failure to navigate this hierarchy can be detrimental." explained senior author A/Prof. Hyunsoo Shawn Je, from the Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders Signature Research Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School.
"Our paper may be the first to demonstrate that specific molecular signaling pathways in specialized nerve cells, in a particular location in the brain, are important for the balanced navigation of social hierarchies."