Gonadal and adrenal steroids strongly determine sexual behavior and reproductive function through their effects on the brain. These “neuroactive steroids” act directly on neural cells or following their conversion to other metabolites locally. For instance, the production of estrogen from testicular testosterone by neural aromatase is essential for masculinization of the brain. However, steroids synthesized de novo within the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS and PNS), termed “neurosteroids,” may also strongly impact sexual differentiation of the brain and sexual function. Specifically, neurosteroids affect sexual and gender-typical behaviors, ovulation, and behaviors that influence sexual interest and motivation like aggression, anxiety, and depression.
- Ventral Tegmental Area
- GABAA Receptor
- Sexual Interest
- GnRH Neuron
- Neuroactive Steroid
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King, S.R. (2009). Neurosteroids and Sexual Behavior and Reproduction. In: Chedrese, P. (eds) Reproductive Endocrinology. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-88186-7_20
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