Incidence of Agonistic Behavior and its Association with Regeneration in Spiny Mice

Gizelle Godinez

Authors: Gizelle Godinez, Sarim Mobin, Malcolm Maden, Dr. Justin Varholick

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Justin Varholick

College:  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Agonistic, fighting, behavior stimulates the stress response and can be frequently observed between cage-mates of African Spiny mice. They are also recognized for their ability to heal tissue with regeneration rather than heal through scarring, which typically occurs in all other mammals. Previous research indicates that stress adversely affects the process of healing.With the use of Spiny mice as a model for regeneration, it is imperative to understand and ultimately account for the effects of agonistic behavior in the home-cage on the rate of regeneration. We hypothesized that cages with higher amounts of agonistic behavior would have delayed rates of regeneration compared to cages with less agonistic behavior. The methods of this experiment included a series of 72 hours of video coding per week for two weeks for each cage to reliably determine agonistic behavior frequencies and if any dominance ranks existed. To measure regeneration rates, a 4mm hole was made in the ear of each mouse and measurements were taken every five days until full regeneration was achieved. Our main findings were that dominance ranks were present within every cage and animals that experienced higher amounts of agonistic behavior had overall slower rates of regeneration.

Poster Pitch

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5 Responses
  1. Gizelle Godinez

    Welcome to my page and thank you for your interest in my topic! Please feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions.

  2. Elianne Rodriguez

    Hello Gizelle! Great poster! It was a very thorough design. I am curious to know if you believe this research will help in using the regenerative processes of spiny mice in other animals, potentially even humans. What other future direction would you like to take for your study of spiny mice?

    1. Gizelle Godinez

      Thank you so much and great question! In the long term, I believe what we learn from Spiny Mice and their regenerative properties has the potential to form some groundbreaking, medical applications. However, at this current time, there is still so much to learn about the underlying mechanisms of regeneration that Spiny Mice will play a major role in. Regarding the future directions I would like to take, I am very eager to continue expanding this current research to fully understand the physiological effects of stress in the regenerative process and if there are possible mechanisms to reverse these effects.

  3. Lucas James

    Hi Gizelle. I am also interested in regeneration. Do you have a hypothesis about how stress may influence regeneration on a cellular level?

    1. Gizelle Godinez

      Hi Lucas,
      Regeneration is definitely an intriguing process! My inclination about what may be happening at the cellular level is that it is similar to how stress effects typical wound healing. I hypothesize that the constant social stress from experiencing agonistic behavior may be inducing a higher production of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex, specifically corticosterone, which may be the reason for this delayed regeneration. However, I am very interested in learning more about this topic and understanding how stress influences regeneration at the cellular level is a great future direction.