Aggressive and non-aggressive personalities differ in oxidative status in selected lines of mice (Mus musculus)

David Costantini, Claudio Carere, Doretta Caramaschi, Jaap M Koolhaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Mice selected for aggression and coping (long attack latency (LAL), reactive coping strategy; short attack latency (SAL), pro-active coping strategy) are a useful model for studying the physiological background of animal personalities. These mice also show a differential stress responsiveness, especially in terms of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity, to various challenges. Since the stress response can increase the production of reactive oxygen species, we predicted that the basic oxidative status of the lines could differ. We found that LAL showed higher serum antioxidant capacity (OXY) than SAL, while no differences emerged for reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs) or the balance between ROMs and OXY, reflecting oxidative stress. Moreover, the lines showed inverse relationships between ROMs or OXY and body mass corrected for age. The results indicate that variation in oxidative status is heritable and linked to personality. This suggests that different animal personalities may be accompanied by differences in oxidative status, which may predict differences in longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-22
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2008


  • Aggression
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Personality
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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