Document Detail

Distinct neuroendocrine mechanisms control neural activity underlying sex differences in sexual motivation and performance.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23282041     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Sexual behavior can be usefully parsed into an appetitive and a consummatory component. Both appetitive and consummatory male-typical sexual behaviors (respectively, ASB and CSB) are activated in male Japanese quail by testosterone (T) acting in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), but never observed in females. This sex difference is based on a demasculinization (= organizational effect) by estradiol during embryonic life for CSB, but a differential activation by T in adulthood for ASB. Males expressing rhythmic cloacal sphincter movements (RCSMs; a form of ASB) or allowed to copulate display increased Fos expression in POM. We investigated Fos brain responses in females exposed to behavioral tests after various endocrine treatments. T-treated females displayed RCSM, but never copulated when exposed to another female. Accordingly they showed an increased Fos expression in POM after ASB but not CSB tests. Females treated with the aromatase inhibitor Vorozole in ovo and T in adulthood displayed both male-typical ASB and CSB, and Fos expression in POM was increased after both types of tests. Thus, the neural circuit mediating ASB is present or can develop in both sexes, but is inactive in females unless they are exposed to exogenous T. In contrast, the neural mechanism mediating CSB is not normally present in females, but can be preserved by blocking the embryonic production of estrogens. Overall these data confirm the difference in endocrine controls and probably neural mechanisms supporting ASB and CSB in quail, and highlight the complexity of mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation of behavior.
Jacques Balthazart; Céline Corbisier de Meaultsart; Gregory F Ball; Charlotte A Cornil
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2013-01-03
Journal Detail:
Title:  The European journal of neuroscience     Volume:  37     ISSN:  1460-9568     ISO Abbreviation:  Eur. J. Neurosci.     Publication Date:  2013 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-03-04     Completed Date:  2013-08-16     Revised Date:  2014-03-07    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8918110     Medline TA:  Eur J Neurosci     Country:  France    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  735-42     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2013 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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MeSH Terms
Appetitive Behavior / drug effects,  physiology*
Aromatase Inhibitors / pharmacology
Brain / cytology,  physiology*
Cloaca / innervation,  physiology
Estrogens / metabolism
Gene Expression / drug effects
Neurons / metabolism,  physiology*
Neurosecretory Systems / physiology*
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / genetics,  metabolism
Sex Characteristics*
Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects,  physiology*
Testosterone / pharmacology
Triazoles / pharmacology
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Aromatase Inhibitors; 0/Estrogens; 0/Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos; 0/Triazoles; 118949-22-7/vorozole; 3XMK78S47O/Testosterone

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