Former Demas Lab graduate student Dr. Nikki Rendon’s manuscript on the role of melatonin in regulating steroid metabolism and aggressive behavior in female hamsters was recently published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology! In this study, Nikki showed that females given a SD-like melatonin signal, either via timed melatonin injections or exposure to short-day photoperiods, reduced circulating dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone levels, but increased circulating estradiol levels following an aggressive interaction. She also found that LD and SD females showed distinct relationships between aggression and neural aromatase abundance. Together, her findings suggest that melatonin increases non-breeding aggression by elevating circulating steroid metabolism after an aggressive encounter and by regulating behaviorally-relevant neural circuits in a region-specific manner.
A link for the manuscript can be found under the “Publications” page and can also be accessed here.