STEROID-CATECHOLAMINE INTERACTIONS AND SEX BEHAVIOR

Summary

Principal Investigator: GREGORY BALL
Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University
Country: USA
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (Adapted from applicant's abstract): The goal of this research program is to elucidate the nature of the interaction between a steroid-sensitive neural circuit and the DAergic system. This interaction mediates, in part, the activation of masculine reproductive behavior. DA and testosterone are well-known to play a stimulatory role in the control of male reproductive behavior. It is, however, unclear how the activational effects of DA relate to the regulation of male sex behavior by testosterone. It is hypothesized that DA is part of the biochemical cascade initiated by testosterone that ultimately results in male copulatory behavior and that DA may facilitate male sexual behavior by increasing the behavioral effectiveness of testosterone. The proposed work capitalizes on a number of recent findings concerning the quail preoptic area (POA) which makes this a unique model: The quail POA contains a sexually dimorphic and testosterone-sensitive nucleus, the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), which provides a clearly defined morphological definition of the area critical for the action of testosterone on sexual behavior. The testosterone-metabolizing pathways (in particular its aromatization) mediating the activation of behavior have been described and an immunocytochemical (ICC) procedure has been developed that permits the visualization of aromatase-containing cells in the quail POA. DA turnover is sexually differentiated in the quail POM (higher turnover in males). Finally, in quail there is evidence that the DAergic system regulates aromatase activity in the POA. A series of 11 experiments are proposed that are designed to analyze four specific aspects of the DA action in the activation of male sexual behavior. The first set of experiments will characterize the central mechanisms controlling anticipatory aspects of sexual behavior and thereby provide a comparison with those mechanisms activating the consummatory aspects. A second set of experiments will have the goal of characterizing the DAergic inputs to the POM and nucleus Accumbens of the Stria Terminalis (Ac-nST) complex and their relation to the activation of anticipatory and consummatory aspects of male sexual behavior. The third series of experiments will investigate whether the sexual dimorphism in behavior and the dimorphism in preoptic aromatase activity can be explained, at least in part, by the dimorphism in DAergic activity in the POM. Finally, the fourth series of experiments will ask whether DA stimulates male sexual behavior by modulating the action of testosterone (changes in aromatization) or by acting on other steroid-dependent or -independent mechanisms.
Funding Period: 1993-07-01 - 1998-06-30
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi Rapid effects of aromatase inhibition on male reproductive behaviors in Japanese quail
    Charlotte A Cornil
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, Belgium
    Horm Behav 49:45-67. 2006
  2. ncbi Rapid decreases in preoptic aromatase activity and brain monoamine concentrations after engaging in male sexual behavior
    C A Cornil
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, , Belgium
    Endocrinology 146:3809-20. 2005
  3. ncbi Individual variation and the endocrine regulation of behaviour and physiology in birds: a cellular/molecular perspective
    Gregory F Ball
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 363:1699-710. 2008
  4. ncbi Enhanced neural activation in brain regions mediating sexual responses following exposure to a conditioned stimulus that predicts copulation
    M Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, 1 Avenue de l Hôpital Bat B36, B 4000 Liege 1, Belgium
    Neuroscience 151:644-58. 2008
  5. ncbi Rapid action on neuroplasticity precedes behavioral activation by testosterone
    Thierry D Charlier
    University of Liege, Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Liege, Belgium
    Horm Behav 54:488-95. 2008
  6. ncbi Estradiol, a key endocrine signal in the sexual differentiation and activation of reproductive behavior in quail
    Jacques Balthazart
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
    J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol 311:323-45. 2009
  7. ncbi Site-specific effects of anosmia and cloacal gland anesthesia on Fos expression induced in male quail brain by sexual behavior
    Melanie Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, 1 Avenue de l Hôpital Bat B36, B 4000 Liege 1, Belgium
    Behav Brain Res 194:52-65. 2008
  8. ncbi Interplay among catecholamine systems: dopamine binds to alpha2-adrenergic receptors in birds and mammals
    Charlotte A Cornil
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA
    J Comp Neurol 511:610-27. 2008
  9. ncbi Rapid regulation of brain oestrogen synthesis: the behavioural roles of oestrogens and their fates
    C A Cornil
    Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Research Group, GIGA Neurosciences, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
    J Neuroendocrinol 21:217-26. 2009
  10. ncbi Species differences in the relative densities of D1- and D2-like dopamine receptor subtypes in the Japanese quail and rats: an in vitro quantitative receptor autoradiography study
    Hayley K Kleitz
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    Brain Behav Evol 73:81-90. 2009

Scientific Experts

Detail Information

Publications24

  1. ncbi Rapid effects of aromatase inhibition on male reproductive behaviors in Japanese quail
    Charlotte A Cornil
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, Belgium
    Horm Behav 49:45-67. 2006
    ..Together, these data demonstrate that aromatase inhibition rapidly decreases both consummatory and appetitive aspects of male sexual behavior...
  2. ncbi Rapid decreases in preoptic aromatase activity and brain monoamine concentrations after engaging in male sexual behavior
    C A Cornil
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, , Belgium
    Endocrinology 146:3809-20. 2005
    ..Sexual interactions with the female decreased aromatase and dopamine activities. These data challenge established views about the causal relationships among dopamine, estrogen action, and male sexual behavior...
  3. ncbi Individual variation and the endocrine regulation of behaviour and physiology in birds: a cellular/molecular perspective
    Gregory F Ball
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 363:1699-710. 2008
    ..This approach along with the use of newly developed molecular genetic tools represents a promising avenue for avian eco-physiologists to pursue...
  4. ncbi Enhanced neural activation in brain regions mediating sexual responses following exposure to a conditioned stimulus that predicts copulation
    M Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, 1 Avenue de l Hôpital Bat B36, B 4000 Liege 1, Belgium
    Neuroscience 151:644-58. 2008
    ..These results suggest a link between a proximate result of sexual CS presentation, male brain activation, and a known ultimate outcome, increased fertilizations...
  5. ncbi Rapid action on neuroplasticity precedes behavioral activation by testosterone
    Thierry D Charlier
    University of Liege, Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Liege, Belgium
    Horm Behav 54:488-95. 2008
    ....
  6. ncbi Estradiol, a key endocrine signal in the sexual differentiation and activation of reproductive behavior in quail
    Jacques Balthazart
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
    J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol 311:323-45. 2009
    ....
  7. ncbi Site-specific effects of anosmia and cloacal gland anesthesia on Fos expression induced in male quail brain by sexual behavior
    Melanie Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, 1 Avenue de l Hôpital Bat B36, B 4000 Liege 1, Belgium
    Behav Brain Res 194:52-65. 2008
    ..Future work should specify the nature of these stimuli and their function in the expression of avian male sexual behavior...
  8. ncbi Interplay among catecholamine systems: dopamine binds to alpha2-adrenergic receptors in birds and mammals
    Charlotte A Cornil
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA
    J Comp Neurol 511:610-27. 2008
    ..Together, these data provide evidence for an interaction between the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems in the vertebrate brain, albeit with species variations...
  9. ncbi Rapid regulation of brain oestrogen synthesis: the behavioural roles of oestrogens and their fates
    C A Cornil
    Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Research Group, GIGA Neurosciences, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
    J Neuroendocrinol 21:217-26. 2009
    ..Subsequently, a few unanswered questions are discussed, such as the mechanism of oestrogen inactivation or the potential cellular sites of action of brain-derived oestrogens on male sexual behaviour...
  10. ncbi Species differences in the relative densities of D1- and D2-like dopamine receptor subtypes in the Japanese quail and rats: an in vitro quantitative receptor autoradiography study
    Hayley K Kleitz
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    Brain Behav Evol 73:81-90. 2009
    ....
  11. ncbi Are rapid changes in gonadal testosterone release involved in the fast modulation of brain estrogen effects?
    Charlotte A Cornil
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    Gen Comp Endocrinol 163:298-305. 2009
    ....
  12. ncbi Behavioral effects of brain-derived estrogens in birds
    Jacques Balthazart
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
    Ann N Y Acad Sci 1163:31-48. 2009
    ..Brain estrogens thus affect behavior on different time scales by genomic and nongenomic mechanisms similar to those of a hormone or a neurotransmitter...
  13. ncbi How useful is the appetitive and consummatory distinction for our understanding of the neuroendocrine control of sexual behavior?
    Gregory F Ball
    Horm Behav 53:307-11; author reply 315-8. 2008
  14. ncbi Topography in the preoptic region: differential regulation of appetitive and consummatory male sexual behaviors
    Jacques Balthazart
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, 1 Avenue de 1 Hôpital Bat B36, B 4000 Liege 1, Belgium
    Front Neuroendocrinol 28:161-78. 2007
    ..It could thus reflect general principles about POA organization and function in the vertebrate brain...
  15. ncbi Interactions between kinases and phosphatases in the rapid control of brain aromatase
    J Balthazart
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioural Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
    J Neuroendocrinol 17:553-9. 2005
    ....
  16. ncbi Is brain estradiol a hormone or a neurotransmitter?
    Jacques Balthazart
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liege, B 4000 Liege, Belgium
    Trends Neurosci 29:241-9. 2006
    ..In this article, we develop the hypothesis that brain estrogens display many, if not all, functional characteristics of neuromodulators or even neurotransmitters...
  17. ncbi Neuroanatomical specificity in the expression of the immediate early gene c-fos following expression of appetitive and consummatory male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail
    M Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioural Neuroendocrinology, , , , Belgium
    Eur J Neurosci 23:1869-87. 2006
    ....
  18. ncbi Functional significance of the rapid regulation of brain estrogen action: where do the estrogens come from?
    Charlotte A Cornil
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 108 Ames Hall, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 2686, USA
    Brain Res 1126:2-26. 2006
    ..Such mechanisms thus fulfill the gap existing between the fast actions of estrogen and their mode of production and open new avenues for the understanding of estrogenic effects on the brain...
  19. ncbi Sex differences in projections from preoptic area aromatase cells to the periaqueductal gray in Japanese quail
    Claudio Carere
    University of Liege, Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Liège B 4000, Belgium
    J Comp Neurol 500:894-907. 2007
    ..These data therefore support the hypothesis that sex differences in POM-PAG connectivity are causally linked to the sex difference in the behavioral response to testosterone...
  20. ncbi Neuroanatomical specificity of sex differences in expression of aromatase mRNA in the quail brain
    Cornelia Voigt
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liege, B 4000 Liege, Belgium
    J Chem Neuroanat 33:75-86. 2007
    ....
  21. ncbi Sexual versus individual differentiation: the controversial role of avian maternal hormones
    Claudio Carere
    Section of Behavioural Neurosciences, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, Italy
    Trends Endocrinol Metab 18:73-80. 2007
    ..Separate effects could result from the action of different hormones, at different doses or at different times, on different targets...
  22. ncbi Differential c-fos expression in the brain of male Japanese quail following exposure to stimuli that predict or do not predict the arrival of a female
    M Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Research Group in Behavioural Neuroendocrinology, University of Liege, Belgium
    Eur J Neurosci 25:2835-46. 2007
    ..Further, these data suggest that conditioned and unconditioned sexual stimuli activate different brain regions but have similar behavioural consequences...
  23. ncbi Sexual behavior activity tracks rapid changes in brain estrogen concentrations
    Melanie Taziaux
    Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liege, B 4000 Liege, Belgium
    J Neurosci 27:6563-72. 2007
    ..Sexual behavior can thus be used to monitor changes in local estrogen concentrations and analyze the mechanisms mediating the rapid decline in estrogen signaling that takes place after inhibition of estrogen synthesis...
  24. ncbi Importance of steroid receptor coactivators in the modulation of steroid action on brain and behavior
    Thierry D Charlier
    University of Liege, GIGA Neuroscience, 1 Avenue de l Hôpital Bat B36, B 4000 Liege, Belgium
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 34:S20-9. 2009
    ..The study of the expression of the coactivator and their function in vivo is required to fully understand steroid action and specificity in the brain...