Effects of feather pecking phenotype (severe feather peckers, victims and non-peckers) on serotonergic and dopaminergic activity in four brain areas of laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus)

M.S. Kops, E.N. de Haas, T.B. Rodenburg, E.D. Ellen, G.A.H. Korte-Bouws, B. Olivier, O. Güntürkün, J.E. Bolhuis, S.M. Korte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Severe feather pecking (SFP) in laying hens is a detrimental behavior causing loss of feathers, skin damage and cannibalism. Previously, we have associated changes in frontal brain serotonin (5-HT) turnover and dopamine (DA) turnover with alterations in feather pecking behavior in young pullets (28–60 days). Here, brain monoamine levels were measured in adult laying hens; focusing on four brain areas that are involved in emotional behavior or are part of the basal ganglia-thalamopallial circuit, which is involved in obsessive compulsive disorders. Three behavioral phenotypes were studied: Severe Feather Peckers (SFPs), Victims of SFP, and Non-Peckers (NPs). Hens (33 weeks old) were sacrificed after a 5-min manual restraint test. SFPs had higher 5-HIAA levels and a higher serotonin turnover (5-HIAA/5-HT) in the dorsal thalamus than NPs, with intermediate levels in victims. NPs had higher 5-HT levels in the medial striatum than victims, with levels of SFPs in between. 5-HT turnover levels did not differ between phenotypes in medial striatum, arcopallium and hippocampus. DA turnover levels were not affected by feather pecking phenotype. These findings indicate that serotonergic neurotransmission in the dorsal thalamus and striatum of adult laying hens depends on differences in behavioral feather pecking phenotype, with, compared to non-pecking hens, changes in both SFP and their victims. Further identification of different SFP phenotypes is needed to elucidate the role of brain monoamines in SFP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • 2 genetic lines
  • manual restraint
  • ventral striatum
  • avian telencephalon
  • social transmission
  • group-size
  • open-field
  • behavior
  • stress

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