Role of Testosterone in the Activation of Sexual Behavior and Neuronal Circuitries in the Senescent Brain

  • G. C. Panzica
  • E. García-Ojeda
  • C. Viglietti-Panzica
  • N. Aste
  • M. A. Ottinger
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 429)

Abstract

Several studies performed in mammals and, more recently, in other vertebrates, demonstrated that sex differences in reproductive behavior as well as in neuronal circuitries involved in its control largely depend on steroid hormones. The perinatal exposure to gonadal steroids and the presence of the appropriate gonadal hormones in the adulthood are necessary for the full expression of sexual behaviour (for a complete list of references see Panzica et al., 1995). More recently, a new group of studies indicated that gonadal hormones can cause changes in brain morphology and functions in the adult brain also in regions which are not directly related to sexual functions (i.e. the regulation of cholinergic neurons by estradiol in the rat forebrain according to a sexually dimorphic pattern). Furthermore, other steroid hormones other than gonadal hormones are also effective on neural structures which do not belong to the traditional neuroendocrine brain targets (Luine and Harding, 1994). With aging, the gonads undergo anatomical, histological and vascular changes, and as a result of these changes all forms of circulating gonadal hormones decrease in both female and male. The magnitude of this decline is considerably dependent on individuals, age and health status (for a review see Timiras et al., 1995). As a consequence, alterations that occur in neuroendocrine systems during aging can provide new insights into the general problem of how steroid modulate neuronal circuitries throughout the life.

Keywords

Estrogen Testosterone Glucocorticoid Progesterone Androgen 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. Panzica
    • 1
  • E. García-Ojeda
    • 1
  • C. Viglietti-Panzica
    • 1
  • N. Aste
    • 1
  • M. A. Ottinger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Forensic MedicineUniversity of TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Department Animal and Avian ScienceUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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