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The neurobiology of human aggressive behavior: Neuroimaging, genetic, and neurochemical aspects.

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Cupaioli, Francesca A 
Zucca, Fabio A 
Caporale, Cinzia 
Lesch, Klaus-Peter 


In modern societies, there is a strive to improve the quality of life related to risk of crimes which inevitably requires a better understanding of brain determinants and mediators of aggression. Neurobiology provides powerful tools to achieve this end. Pre-clinical and clinical studies show that changes in regional volumes, metabolism-function and connectivity within specific neural networks are related to aggression. Subregions of prefrontal cortex, insula, amygdala, basal ganglia and hippocampus play a major role within these circuits and have been consistently implicated in biology of aggression. Genetic variations in proteins regulating the synthesis, degradation, and transport of serotonin and dopamine as well as their signal transduction have been found to mediate behavioral variability observed in aggression. Gene-gene and gene-environment interactions represent additional important risk factors for aggressiveness. Considering the social burden of pathological forms of aggression, more basic and translational studies should be conducted to accelerate applications to clinical practice, justice courts, and policy making.



Aggression, brain regions of aggression, dopamine and serotonin in aggression, genetics of aggression, imaging of aggressive brain, Aggression, Brain, Brain Chemistry, Dopamine, Gene-Environment Interaction, Humans, Neuroimaging, Serotonin

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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry

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Elsevier BV
Medical Research Council (MR/P01271X/1)