Journal of Ethology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 31–33

Association of inflammatory markers elevation with aggressive behavior in domestic dogs



We tested the hypothesis that elevations of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) could be associated with the presence of aggressive behavior in domestic dogs. Serum concentrations of CRP and IL-6 were determined by ELISA in eighteen adult male German Shepherd dogs showing no clinical signs but aggression. Eighteen healthy male dogs with a negative history of behavioral and neurological disorders were used as controls. Compared with normal dogs, those with aggression had significantly higher levels of CRP (P < 0.05) and IL-6 (P < 0.01) after adjustment for age, body weight, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, total protein, total bilirubin and cholesterol. Our pilot data suggest for the first time that an activation of systemic inflammatory processes may contribute to the pathophysiology of aggression in domestic dogs. Further investigations are needed regarding the impact of our findings on treatment strategies.


Aggression Inflammation Dogs CRP IL-6 


  1. Barkhudaryan N, Dunn AJ (1999) Molecular mechanisms of actions of interleukin-6 on the brain, with special reference to serotonin and the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Neurochem Res 24:1169–1180PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cakiroğlu D, Meral Y, Sancak AA, Cifti G (2007) Relationship between the serum concentrations of serotonin and lipids and aggression in dogs. Vet Rec 161:59–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coccaro EF (2006) Association of C-reactive protein elevation with trait aggression and hostility in personality disordered subjects: a pilot study. J Psychiatr Res 40:460–465PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Lima VM, Peiro JR, De Oliveira Vasconcelos R (2007) IL-6 and TNF-alpha production during active canine visceral leishmaniasis. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 115:189–193PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hayashi S, Jinbo T, Iguchi K, Shimizu M, Shimada T, Nomura M, Ishida Y, Yamamoto S (2001) A comparison of the concentrations of C-reactive protein and alpha1-acid glycoprotein in the serum of young and adult dogs with acute inflammation. Vet Res Commun 25:117–126PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ito H, Nara H, Inoue-Murayama M, Shimada MK, Koshimura A, Ueda Y, Kitagawa H, Takeuchi Y, Mori Y, Murayama Y, Morita M, Iwasaki T, Ota K, Tanabe Y, Ito S (2004) Allele frequency distribution of the canine dopamine receptor D4 gene exon III and I in 23 breeds. J Vet Med Sci 66:815–820PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kim YK, Kim l, Lee MS (2000) Relationships between interleukins, neurotransmitters and psychopathology in drug-free male schizophrenics. Schizophr Res 44:165–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Re S, Zanoletti M, Emanuele E (2007) Aggressive dogs are characterized by low omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid status. Vet Res Commun (in press)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal BiologyUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.Santa Lucia Veterinary ClinicsTortonaItaly
  3. 3.Interdepartmental Center for Research in Molecular MedicineUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

Personalised recommendations