Patterns of neural activation associated with exposure to odors from a familiar winner in male golden hamsters

Wen Sung Lai, Aiyin Chen, Robert E. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The neural mechanisms underlying recognition of familiar individuals and responses appropriate to them are not well known. Previous studies with male golden hamsters have shown that, after a series of brief aggressive encounters, a loser selectively avoids his own, familiar winner but does not avoid other males. Using this paradigm, we investigated activity in 20 areas of the brain using immunohistochemistry for c-Fos and Egr-1 during exposure to a familiar winner compared to control groups not exposed to another male. Behavioral data showed that 1 day after fights males that lost avoided the familiar winner, suggesting that they recognized this individual. The c-Fos and Egr-1 immunohistochemistry showed that the losers exposed to familiar winners had a greater density of stained cells in the basolateral amygdala, the CA1 region of anterior dorsal hippocampus and the dorsal subiculum than control groups had in these areas. These results suggest that these brain areas may be involved in the memory for other males, the learned fear of familiar winners, or related processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-329
Number of pages11
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Egr-1
  • Fear
  • Golden hamsters
  • Hamsters
  • Immediate early genes
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Individual recognition
  • Neural activations
  • Odors
  • Olfaction
  • Social anxiety
  • Social memory
  • c-Fos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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