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Female mice deficient in alpha-fetoprotein show female-typical neural responses to conspecific-derived pheromones.

Brock O, Keller M, Douhard Q, Bakker J - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Furthermore, AFP-KO females failed to show any male-directed mate preferences following treatment with estradiol and progesterone, indicating a reduced sexual motivation to seek out the male.By contrast, WT males did not show any significant induction of Fos protein in these brain areas upon exposure to either male or estrous female urinary odors.These results thus suggest that prenatal estradiol is not involved in the sexual differentiation of neural Fos responses to male-derived odors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroendocrinology, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. o.brock@nin.knaw.nl

ABSTRACT
The neural mechanisms controlling sexual behavior are sexually differentiated by the perinatal actions of sex steroid hormones. We recently observed using female mice deficient in alpha-fetoprotein (AFP-KO) and which lack the protective actions of AFP against maternal estradiol, that exposure to prenatal estradiol completely defeminized the potential to show lordosis behavior in adulthood. Furthermore, AFP-KO females failed to show any male-directed mate preferences following treatment with estradiol and progesterone, indicating a reduced sexual motivation to seek out the male. In the present study, we asked whether neural responses to male- and female-derived odors are also affected in AFP-KO female mice. Therefore, we compared patterns of Fos, the protein product of the immediate early gene, c-fos, commonly used as a marker of neuronal activation, between wild-type (WT) and AFP-KO female mice following exposure to male or estrous female urine. We also tested WT males to confirm the previously observed sex differences in neural responses to male urinary odors. Interestingly, AFP-KO females showed normal, female-like Fos responses, i.e. exposure to urinary odors from male but not estrous female mice induced equivalent levels of Fos protein in the accessory olfactory pathways (e.g. the medial part of the preoptic nucleus, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the amygdala, and the lateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus) as well as in the main olfactory pathways (e.g. the piriform cortex and the anterior cortical amygdaloid nucleus), as WT females. By contrast, WT males did not show any significant induction of Fos protein in these brain areas upon exposure to either male or estrous female urinary odors. These results thus suggest that prenatal estradiol is not involved in the sexual differentiation of neural Fos responses to male-derived odors.

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Exposure to male urinary odors increases the number of Fos-ir cells in WT and AFP-KO females but not in WT males.Mean +/− SEM number of Fos-ir cells per mm2 (density) in brain regions which are part of the main olfactory pathway in male (intact) and female WT and AFP-KO female (ovariectomized and implanted with an E2 capsule) mice exposed to either water, estrous female or male urinary odors. * P<0.05 different from females that were exposed to water or to estrous female urine. # P<0.05 different from females of the same genotype exposed to intact male urine.
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pone-0039204-g003: Exposure to male urinary odors increases the number of Fos-ir cells in WT and AFP-KO females but not in WT males.Mean +/− SEM number of Fos-ir cells per mm2 (density) in brain regions which are part of the main olfactory pathway in male (intact) and female WT and AFP-KO female (ovariectomized and implanted with an E2 capsule) mice exposed to either water, estrous female or male urinary odors. * P<0.05 different from females that were exposed to water or to estrous female urine. # P<0.05 different from females of the same genotype exposed to intact male urine.

Mentions: Exposure to urine derived from intact males, but not from estrous females, induced significantly more Fos-ir cells in the piriform cortex and the ACo in WT and AFP-KO females than exposure to deionized water whereas WT males showed very few Fos-ir cells in response to either male or estrous female urine or deionized water (Fig. 3).


Female mice deficient in alpha-fetoprotein show female-typical neural responses to conspecific-derived pheromones.

Brock O, Keller M, Douhard Q, Bakker J - PLoS ONE (2012)

Exposure to male urinary odors increases the number of Fos-ir cells in WT and AFP-KO females but not in WT males.Mean +/− SEM number of Fos-ir cells per mm2 (density) in brain regions which are part of the main olfactory pathway in male (intact) and female WT and AFP-KO female (ovariectomized and implanted with an E2 capsule) mice exposed to either water, estrous female or male urinary odors. * P<0.05 different from females that were exposed to water or to estrous female urine. # P<0.05 different from females of the same genotype exposed to intact male urine.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3376129&req=5

pone-0039204-g003: Exposure to male urinary odors increases the number of Fos-ir cells in WT and AFP-KO females but not in WT males.Mean +/− SEM number of Fos-ir cells per mm2 (density) in brain regions which are part of the main olfactory pathway in male (intact) and female WT and AFP-KO female (ovariectomized and implanted with an E2 capsule) mice exposed to either water, estrous female or male urinary odors. * P<0.05 different from females that were exposed to water or to estrous female urine. # P<0.05 different from females of the same genotype exposed to intact male urine.
Mentions: Exposure to urine derived from intact males, but not from estrous females, induced significantly more Fos-ir cells in the piriform cortex and the ACo in WT and AFP-KO females than exposure to deionized water whereas WT males showed very few Fos-ir cells in response to either male or estrous female urine or deionized water (Fig. 3).

Bottom Line: Furthermore, AFP-KO females failed to show any male-directed mate preferences following treatment with estradiol and progesterone, indicating a reduced sexual motivation to seek out the male.By contrast, WT males did not show any significant induction of Fos protein in these brain areas upon exposure to either male or estrous female urinary odors.These results thus suggest that prenatal estradiol is not involved in the sexual differentiation of neural Fos responses to male-derived odors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroendocrinology, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. o.brock@nin.knaw.nl

ABSTRACT
The neural mechanisms controlling sexual behavior are sexually differentiated by the perinatal actions of sex steroid hormones. We recently observed using female mice deficient in alpha-fetoprotein (AFP-KO) and which lack the protective actions of AFP against maternal estradiol, that exposure to prenatal estradiol completely defeminized the potential to show lordosis behavior in adulthood. Furthermore, AFP-KO females failed to show any male-directed mate preferences following treatment with estradiol and progesterone, indicating a reduced sexual motivation to seek out the male. In the present study, we asked whether neural responses to male- and female-derived odors are also affected in AFP-KO female mice. Therefore, we compared patterns of Fos, the protein product of the immediate early gene, c-fos, commonly used as a marker of neuronal activation, between wild-type (WT) and AFP-KO female mice following exposure to male or estrous female urine. We also tested WT males to confirm the previously observed sex differences in neural responses to male urinary odors. Interestingly, AFP-KO females showed normal, female-like Fos responses, i.e. exposure to urinary odors from male but not estrous female mice induced equivalent levels of Fos protein in the accessory olfactory pathways (e.g. the medial part of the preoptic nucleus, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the amygdala, and the lateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus) as well as in the main olfactory pathways (e.g. the piriform cortex and the anterior cortical amygdaloid nucleus), as WT females. By contrast, WT males did not show any significant induction of Fos protein in these brain areas upon exposure to either male or estrous female urinary odors. These results thus suggest that prenatal estradiol is not involved in the sexual differentiation of neural Fos responses to male-derived odors.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus