The control of feather pecking by serotonin

Y.M. van Hierden*, S.F. de Boer, J.M. Koolhaas, S.M. Korte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
85 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Feather-pecking behavior in laying hens (Gallus gallus) may be considered a behavioral pathology, comparable to human psychopathological disorders. Scientific knowledge on the causation of such disorders strongly suggests involvement of the serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) system in feather pecking. Previously, chicks from a high-feather-pecking (HFP) line were found to display lower 5-HT turnover levels than chicks from a low-feather-pecking (LFP) line (in response to acute stress; Y. M. van Hierden et al., 2002). The present study investigated whether low 5-HT neurotransmission modulates feather pecking. First, S-15535, a somatodendritic 5-HT1A autoreceptor agonist, was demonstrated to be an excellent tool for reducing 5-HT turnover in the forebrain of LFP and HFP chicks. Second, the most effective dose of S-15535 (4.0 mg/kg body weight) significantly increased severe feather-pecking behavior. The results confirmed the postulation that the performance of feather pecking is triggered by low 5-HT neurotransmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume118/3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2004

Keywords

  • OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER
  • LAYING HENS
  • 5-HT1A AUTORECEPTORS
  • DOPAMINERGIC-NEURONS
  • (5-HT)(1A) RECEPTORS
  • MANUAL RESTRAINT
  • S 15535
  • MICE
  • MODULATION
  • TURNOVER

Cite this