Human AVP

Cross references:    Human Cortisol, etc.         Human Testosterone    
Human Serotonin   

Cerebrospinal fluid vasopressin levels: correlates with aggression and serotonin function in personality-disordered subjects.

Only abstract available online. 
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Central AVP may play a role in enhancing, while serotonin plays a role in inhibiting, aggressive behavior in personality-disordered individuals. In addition to the possibility of central AVP and serotonin interacting to influence human aggression, central AVP may also influence human aggressive behavior through a mechanism independent of central serotonin in personality-disordered subjects.



Vasopressin: Behavioral Roles of an “Original” Neuropeptide
(PubMed) 
Full length HTML and PDF available online for free. 
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Vasopressin (Avp) is mainly synthesized in the magnocellular cells of the hypothalamic supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular nuclei (PVN) whose axons project to the posterior pituitary. Avp is then released into the blood stream upon appropriate stimulation (e.g., hemorrhage or dehydration) to act at the kidneys and blood vessels. The brain also contains several populations of smaller, parvocellular neurons whose projections remain within the brain. These populations are located within the PVN, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), medial amygdala (MeA) and suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).
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Avp is evolutionarily well-conserved as even the primitive organism hydra expresses an Avp-like peptide (Grimmelikhuijzen and Spencer, 1984). The evolutionary progenitor of the vertebrate Avp, vasotocin, is found in birds and reptiles (Acher, 1990).
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There are three major receptor types for Avp: Avpr1a, Avpr1b, and Avpr2. The Avp receptors have seven transmembrane domains: Avpr1a and Avpr1b couple to Gαq/11 GTP binding proteins, which along with Gβλ, activate phospholipase C activity whereas Avpr2 couples to Gs and acts through the cyclic AMP system (Michell et al., 1979; Jard et al., 1987).

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Avp plays a prominent role in the regulation of aggression, generally of facilitating or promoting it. Affiliation and certain aspects of pair-bonding are also influenced by Avp. Memory, one of the first brain functions of Avp that was investigated, has been implicated especially strongly in social recognition. The roles of Avp in stress, anxiety, and depressive states are areas of active exploration.
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In humans, heightened aggression is associated with increased impulsivity and is a characteristic of individuals with personality disorders. There is a positive correlation of CSF Avp concentration with a life history of non-directed general aggression (including temper tantrums and property assault) as well as aggression towards individuals (Coccaro et al., 1998).
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Given the difficulty of studying and the complexity of aggression in humans, the concordance between the findings of the animal work and that of the human literature implicating Avp in the regulation of aggression is compelling. It appears that the role of Avp in the regulation of aggression is highly conserved.
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