Although evidence indicates that exposure to organophosphorus (OP) pesticides induces neurobehavioral disorders, little is known about the effects of OP on aggressive behaviour. Our study investigated the effects of repeated exposure to an OP pesticide, methamidophos, on the isolation-induced aggressive behaviour in mice. Forty seven male mice were individually housed for a month. Socially isolated animals were then confronted with a standard non-isolated opponent for 15 min (pre-treatment trial), and the latency and frequency of aggressive and general exploratory behaviours were recorded. Based on the presence of attack behaviour in the pre-treatment trial, mice were classified as isolation-induced aggressive and non-aggressive. All mice were then treated for 7 days with methamidophos (3.5 mg/kg/day, n = 22, intraperitoneal (i.p.)) or saline (1 mL/kg/day, control group, n = 25, i.p.), and a second trial was performed. Repeated exposure to methamidophos induced attack behaviour in non-aggressive mice. The treatment with methamidophos also decreased plasma butyrylcholinesterase and brain acetylcholinesterase activity. These results suggest that methamidophos has a pro-aggressive effect on socially isolated mice.
- Aggressive behaviour