INTEGRATION OF CHEMOSENSORY AND HORMONAL STIMULI

Summary

Principal Investigator: Ruth Wood
Abstract: Gonadal steroid hormones are essential for mating in male hamsters, as in most mammals. Castration also reduces sexual motivation, as measured by interest in vaginal odors and preference for a receptive female. However, understanding of mechanisms for steroid stimulation of appetitive sexual behavior is limited. This is the overall objective of the proposed studies. Hamsters are an important model for investigating sexual motivation because mating is dependent on chemosensory cues. Male hamsters engage in extensive anogenital investigation of females before mating, and removal of the olfactory bulbs abolishes both copulation and preference for an estrous female. Studies in Specific Aim 1 will investigate the effects of castration and steroid replacement on detection of and responsiveness to female hamster vaginal secretion (FHVS) to determine if castrated males can detect FHVS, and the steroid signals that convey responsiveness to FHVS. Conditioned taste avoidance will be used to assess chemosensory detection (Aim 1A), while Aims 1B and 1C will evaluate chemosensory responsiveness using operant responding for FHVS. Specific Aim 2 will determine brain pathways for hormonal control of chemosensory responsiveness. Aim 2A will investigate the transduction of rewarding chemosensory cues in the olfactory mucosa and/or vomeronasal organ. Aims 2B and 2C will focus on central targets of the olfactory bulbs. The medial preoptic area (MPOA) is key to expression of consummatory sexual behavior. However, lesions of MPOA fail to prevent preference for an estrous female, suggesting that other brain regions contribute to steroidal effects on sexual motivation. The medial amygdaloid nucleus (Me) is a logical site in this regard. Me receives efferents from the olfactory bulbs, and has abundant steroid receptors. We have shown that testosterone in Me stimulates sexual activity in castrated males. Aims 2B and 2C will use lesions and hormone stimulation to determine the role of Me and MPOA in steroid facilitation of chemosensory responsiveness. These studies have relevance to understanding sexual motivation, and the significance of steroid hormones in appetitive sexual behavior.
Funding Period: 1997-06-15 - 2007-12-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the Syrian hamster: subnuclei and connections of the posterior division
    R I Wood
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Neuroscience 135:155-79. 2005
  2. pmc Partner preference in male hamsters: steroids, sexual experience and chemosensory cues
    Cortney L Ballard
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo St, BMT 401, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
    Physiol Behav 91:1-8. 2007
  3. pmc Sex and drugs: comment on "Evidence for involvement of erbeta and rgs9-2 in 17-beta estradiol enhancement of amphetamine-induced place preference behavior" by Silverman and Koenig
    Ruth I Wood
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Horm Behav 52:143-5. 2007
  4. pmc Testosterone and nucleus accumbens dopamine in the male Syrian hamster
    Jennifer L Triemstra
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo St, BMT 401, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 33:386-94. 2008
  5. pmc Adolescents and androgens, receptors and rewards
    Satoru M Sato
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo Street, BMT 401, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Horm Behav 53:647-58. 2008
  6. pmc Cell proliferation and survival in the mating circuit of adult male hamsters: effects of testosterone and sexual behavior
    Eleni Antzoulatos
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Horm Behav 54:735-40. 2008

Scientific Experts

  • Ruth I Wood
  • Satoru M Sato
  • Jennifer L Triemstra
  • Eleni Antzoulatos
  • Cortney L Ballard
  • Julie E Magorien
  • Cheryl L Sisk
  • Kalynn M Schulz

Detail Information

Publications6

  1. ncbi The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the Syrian hamster: subnuclei and connections of the posterior division
    R I Wood
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Neuroscience 135:155-79. 2005
    ..This supports the concept of distinct circuits within the extended amygdala which differentially link the centromedial amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis...
  2. pmc Partner preference in male hamsters: steroids, sexual experience and chemosensory cues
    Cortney L Ballard
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo St, BMT 401, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
    Physiol Behav 91:1-8. 2007
    ..Furthermore, while chemosensory cues are essential for sexual motivation, the vomeronasal organ is not required for partner preference...
  3. pmc Sex and drugs: comment on "Evidence for involvement of erbeta and rgs9-2 in 17-beta estradiol enhancement of amphetamine-induced place preference behavior" by Silverman and Koenig
    Ruth I Wood
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Horm Behav 52:143-5. 2007
  4. pmc Testosterone and nucleus accumbens dopamine in the male Syrian hamster
    Jennifer L Triemstra
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo St, BMT 401, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 33:386-94. 2008
    ..The reduction in DA at high T doses is likely due to autonomic depressant effects of AAS. We suggest that AAS act via mechanism distinct from those of stimulants, but may share neural substrates with other drugs of abuse...
  5. pmc Adolescents and androgens, receptors and rewards
    Satoru M Sato
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, 1333 San Pablo Street, BMT 401, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Horm Behav 53:647-58. 2008
    ..Therefore, further examination of interactions between androgens and rewarding behaviors in the adolescent brain is required for a better understanding of AAS abuse...
  6. pmc Cell proliferation and survival in the mating circuit of adult male hamsters: effects of testosterone and sexual behavior
    Eleni Antzoulatos
    Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
    Horm Behav 54:735-40. 2008
    ..Specifically, cell proliferation in MeP and MPOA are differentially influenced by testosterone, and the birth and survival of new cells in either region are not enhanced by reproductive activity...