Lateralized effects of ethanol on aggression and serotonergic systems in Anolis carolinensis

A. Wallace Deckel, Reshma Lillaney, Patrick J. Ronan, Cliff H. Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The lateralized effects of ethanol (ETOH) upon behavior and monoamine biochemistry in the lizard, Anolis carolinensis, were examined. Eight adult male anoles consumed solutions of 19% ethanol (ETOH) twice daily over the course of 18 days, while controls consumed water. ETOH decreased the use of the left eye/right hemisphere, but not the right eye/left hemisphere, during territorial aggression (p < 0.05). During crossover (i.e., ETOH to water and vice versa) this effect was reversible and replicable. Biochemically, an asymmetry was observed in 5-HT levels in the raphe both in ETOH and controls. ETOH increased levels of serotonin (5-HT; p < 0.05), and 5-HIAA/5-HT ratios (p < 0.05) in the raphe; serotonin levels in several brain regions correlated with aggressive responses. These results suggest that ETOH boosts 5-HT levels in animals subchronically exposed to ETOH. They further suggest that asymmetry in endogenous 5-HT systems may account for the asymmetrical regulation of aggression generally, and may explain the behavioral effects of ETOH upon lateralized aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 5 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Alcohol
  • Lateralization
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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