any sources of variation in animal experiments are related to characteristics of the animal or its husbandry conditions. In ethologic studies, observational methods can also affect interexperimental variation. Different descriptions for a behavior can lead to divergent findings that may be incorrectly attributed to other factors if not recognized as stemming from a classification dissonance. Here we discuss 2 observational studies in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus).
Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive social relationships, buffering from stress and protecting from the development of psychiatric disorders such as depression. However, due to the false belief that aggression is not a part of the normal repertoire of social behaviors displayed by females, almost nothing is known about the neural mechanisms mediating the rewarding properties of aggression in half the population. In the following study, using Syrian hamsters as a well-validated and translational model of female aggression, we investigated the effects of aggressive experience on the expression of markers of postsynaptic structure (PSD-95, Caskin I) and excitatory synaptic transmission (GluA1, GluA2, GluA4, NR2A, NR2B, mGluR1a, and mGluR5) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), caudate putamen and prefrontal cortex.
The gerbil is usually nonaggressive and is one of the easiest rodents to maintain and handle. Its disposition, curious nature, relative freedom from naturally occurring infectious diseases, and adaptability to its environment have contributed to its popularity as a laboratory animal. Gerbils are found in deserts and semiarid geographical regions of the world.