Acute effects of aspartame on aggression and neurochemistry of rats

Amy L. Goerss, George C. Wagner, Wendy L. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The inverse relationship between serotonin and aggression was investigated in rats treated with aspartame, a sweetener thought to interfere with the synthesis of this neurotransmitter. Eleven adult, male Long-Evans rats received either aspartame (200-800 mg/kg, IP) or the vehicle prior to testing in a standard resident-intruder paradigm. Contrary to our hypothesis, aspartame significantly decreased aggression as shown by increased latencies to the first attack and decreased number of bites per session. Corresponding with the effects on aggression, aspartame significantly increased striatal levels of serotonin. It was concluded that high doses of aspartame reduced aggressive attack via a serotonergic mechanism while the lower dose was without effect on either variable. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1325-1329
Number of pages5
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 4 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


  • Aggression
  • Aspartame
  • Serotonin


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