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      Neonatal Estrogen Decreases Neural Density of the Septum–Midbrain Central Gray Connection Underlying the Lordosis-Inhibiting System in Female Rats

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          Neurons in the lateral septum (LS) with projecting axons to the midbrain central gray (MCG) exert an inhibitory influence on lordosis. The number of such neurons is greater in female than in male rats. In this experiment, effects of neonatal estrogen on the density of the LS-MCG connections and on lordosis behavior were examined in female rats. On postnatal day 4 (day 0 = day of birth), females were injected subcutaneously with 50 or 100 µg estradiol benzoate (EB) or oil. On postnatal day 60, females and control males were gonadectomized. Behavioral tests were carried out after the implantation of silicone tubes containing estradiol. Lordotic activities in both males and EB-treated females were lower than in oil-treated females. After completing the behavioral tests, the animals were injected with Fluoro-Gold (FG), a retrograde tracer, into the right-side MCG and the number of FG-labeled neurons in the LS was measured. In all groups, the right-side LS ipsilateral to the FG injection had more FG-labeled neurons than the left-side LS. The number of FG-labeled neurons in the LS of oil-treated females was larger than that of males on both right and left sides. In the females treated with 100 µg EB (EB100), the number of FG-labeled neurons was comparable with that of males and lower than that of oil-treated females. The number of FG-labeled neurons in the EB50 females was also lower than that in oil-treated females, but tended to be larger than that observed in the EB100 group. These results indicate that neonatal estrogen decreases both lordotic activity and the density of the LS-MCG neural connections in female rats.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Comparative distribution of estrogen receptor-? and -? mRNA in the rat central nervous system

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            Evidence for a morphological sex difference within the medial preoptic area of the rat brain.

            The present report demonstrates the existence of a marked sexual difference in the volume of an intensely staining cellular component of the medial preoptic nucleus (MPON) of the rat. Moreover, this sexual dimorphism is shown to be independent of several specific hormonal conditions in the adult, but significantly influenced, perhaps determined, by the perinatal hormone environment. Adult rats were gonadectomized and sacrificed 2 or 5-6 weeks later, or sacrificed after gonadectomy and priming with estradiol benzoate (2 microgram/day x 3) and 500 microgram progesterone, or testosterone propionate (TP, 500 microgram/day x 14), or the ingestion of propylthiouracil (0.15% of the diet) for one month, or following water deprivation for 24 h. These treatments did not affect the sexual dimorphism in the MPON and, in all groups, nuclear volume in the male animals was significantly greater than that of females whether nuclear volume was expressed in absolute terms or relative to brain weight. On the other hand, the volume of the MPON of the adult male castrated neonatally was significantly reduced when compared to that of the male castrated at the time of weaning, i.e. after the period of sexual differentiation of the brain. Consistent with the view that this nuclear region undergoes sexual differentiation is the fact that the volume of the MPON was significantly greater in female rats injected with 1 mg TP on day 4 of life than in oil-treated females. More subtle sex differences in the volume of the suprachiasmatic nucleus were also detected, as were several treatment effects. Although these differences may fall within the error of the analytical procedure, it is possible that hormone- or sex-dependent morphological differences exist elsewhere in the brain. Nevertheless, the gross sexual dimorphism in the MPON clearly demonstrates a possible morphological basis for the sexual differentiation of brain function.
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              Survival of reproductive behaviors in estrogen receptor beta gene-deficient (betaERKO) male and female mice.

              Previously, it was shown that the lack of a functional estrogen receptor (ER) alpha gene (ERalpha) greatly affects reproduction-related behaviors in both female and male mice. However, widespread expression of a novel second ER gene, ERbeta, demanded that we examine the possible participation of ERbeta in regulation of these behaviors. In dramatic contrast to our results with ERalpha knockout (alphaERKO) males, betaERKO males performed at least as well as wild-type controls in sexual behavior tests. Moreover, not only did betaERKO males exhibit normal male-typical aggressive behavior, including offensive attacks, but they also showed higher levels of aggression than wild-type mice under certain conditions of social experience. These data revealed a significant interaction between genotype and social experience with respect to aggressive behavior. Finally, females lacking a functional beta isoform of the ER gene showed normal lordosis and courtship behaviors, extending in some cases beyond the day of behavioral estrus. These results highlight the importance of ERalpha for the normal expression of natural reproductive behaviors in both sexes and also provide a background for future studies evaluating ERbeta gene contributions to other, nonreproductive behaviors.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2003
                31 October 2003
                : 78
                : 4
                : 226-233
                aAdvanced Research Center for Human Sciences, and bDepartment of Human Behavior and Environment Sciences, School of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan
                73706 Neuroendocrinology 2003;78:226–233
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, References: 42, Pages: 8
                Reproductive Neuroendocrinology


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