Sex Differences in the Septo-Hippocampal Cholinergic System in Rats: Behavioral Consequences

  • Dai Mitsushima
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 8)


The hippocampus is processing temporal and spatial information in particular contexts or episodes. Using freely moving rats, we monitored extracellular levels of acetylcholine (ACh), a critical neurotransmitter activating hippocampal circuits. We found that the ACh release in the dorsal hippocampus increases during the period of learning or exploration, exhibiting a sex-specific 24-h release profile. Moreover, neonatal increase in circulating androgen not only androgenizes behavioral and hormonal features, but also produces male-type ACh release profile after the development. The results suggest neonatal sexual differentiation of septo-hippocampal cholinergic system. Environmental conditions (such as stress, housing or food) of animals further affected the ACh release.

Although recent advances of neuroscience successfully revealed molecular/cellular mechanism of learning and memory, most research were performed using male animals at specific time period. Sex-specific or time-dependent hippocampal functions are still largely unknown.


Acetylcholine Androgen Diurnal rhythm Estrogen Learning and memory Sex difference 



This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid 18590219 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (to D.M.).


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© Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dai Mitsushima
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyYokohama City University Graduate School of MedicineYokohamaJapan

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