Breaking News
September 24, 2018 - Enrollment in opioid controlled substance agreement reduces primary care visits
September 24, 2018 - UTA researchers patent new smart seat cushion technology that helps prevent painful ulcers
September 24, 2018 - Second HPV-Related Primary Cancers Common in Survivors
September 24, 2018 - How a virus destabilizes the genome
September 23, 2018 - Smart textile-based soft robotic exosuit helps wearers save energy and traverse difficult terrain
September 23, 2018 - New research hub to drive radical change in development and manufacturing of vaccines
September 23, 2018 - AHA: For Hispanics, Neighborhood May Be Key Factor in Heart Disease Risk
September 23, 2018 - Excessive airway nerves tied to more severe asthma symptoms, study finds
September 23, 2018 - Study highlights need to remain vigilant in maintaining key infection control processes
September 23, 2018 - Novel therapeutic strategy for blood vessel related disorders, such as cancer and retinopathy
September 23, 2018 - New naturally occurring antibiotic found effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis
September 23, 2018 - First-in-human phase 0 study shows clinically-relevant activity of new drug in glioblastoma
September 23, 2018 - Removing tobacco product display from shops reduced number of children buying cigarettes
September 23, 2018 - Random fraction of specialized immune cells leads the charge in battling invaders
September 23, 2018 - Few minutes of sprinting exercise may be as effective as longer exercise sessions
September 23, 2018 - Researchers use neutrons to make first direct observations of water in lipid bilayers
September 23, 2018 - Researchers demonstrate pre-clinical success for universal flu vaccine in new paper
September 23, 2018 - Study reveals surprising gaps in some HIV medical providers’ knowledge of ACA
September 23, 2018 - Oxehealth secures European medical device accreditation for vital signs measurement software
September 23, 2018 - HTN Tx Intensification Common Upon Discharge in U.S. Vets
September 23, 2018 - Fibre can strengthen the intestinal barrier
September 23, 2018 - New platform examines infectious pathogens that may spread from animals to humans
September 23, 2018 - Demographers create detailed color map of population aging in Europe
September 23, 2018 - New type of fatty acid can slow down overreactive immune system
September 23, 2018 - Innovative procedure could provide breakthrough in treating early-stage lung cancer
September 23, 2018 - Research finds drop in number of measles cases in the EU/EEA since March 2018
September 23, 2018 - Researchers acquire new insights into DNA polymerases
September 23, 2018 - Alzheimer’s diagnosis might become simpler with new brain imaging method
September 23, 2018 - Reports Warn of Growing Opioid Crisis Among Seniors
September 23, 2018 - Researchers unravel why people with HIV suffer from more neurologic diseases
September 23, 2018 - Human brain structured to make best possible decision with limited resources
September 23, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Health on the hill
September 23, 2018 - Bad air and inadequate data prove an unhealthy mix
September 23, 2018 - Regular bedtime and wake time important for heart, metabolic health even among adults
September 23, 2018 - HIV and a tale of a few cities
September 23, 2018 - NIH launches clinical trial to test infusions of combination antibodies in people with HIV
September 23, 2018 - Researchers develop new system to detect consumption of synthetic cannabinoids
September 23, 2018 - Vax-Hub to influenze radical change in development and manufacturing of vaccines
September 23, 2018 - People who have slept lesser than seven hours have higher risks of car crashes
September 23, 2018 - an ancient art may work best to prevent falls in old age
September 23, 2018 - Consumption of foods with lower nutritional quality related to increased cancer risk
September 23, 2018 - Patient Health Information Often Shared Electronically
September 23, 2018 - Can machine learning bring more humanity to health care?
September 23, 2018 - Body organs undergo structural changes in response to diet
September 23, 2018 - Genetic polymorphisms linked with muscle injury and stiffness
September 23, 2018 - As states try to rein in drug spending, feds slap down one bold Medicaid move
September 22, 2018 - Why Eczema Is Tougher to Treat for Black Patients
September 22, 2018 - Team reveals that human genome could contain up to 20 percent fewer genes
September 22, 2018 - USC research uncovers previously unknown genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease
September 22, 2018 - Novel method achieves accurate and precise temperature estimation in fat-containing tissues
September 22, 2018 - BSI accredits Oxehealth’s vital signs measurement software as Class IIa medical device
September 22, 2018 - Evolution of psychiatric disorders and human personality traits
September 22, 2018 - Obesity in early puberty doubles asthma risk for boy’s future offspring
September 22, 2018 - World’s most advanced real-time patient monitoring platform receives key US patent
September 22, 2018 - Study explores connection between sexuality and cognitive status in older adults
September 22, 2018 - LSTM partners with TB Alliance to develop novel TB drug regimens
September 22, 2018 - Annual wellness visits improve delivery of preventive services in elderly population
September 22, 2018 - CHMP provides positive opinion to Cabometyx for previously-treated patients with hepatocellular carcinoma
September 22, 2018 - Hispanic communities with high proportions of Hispanics face more cardiovascular-related death
September 22, 2018 - Vici syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
September 22, 2018 - Single-dose drug can shorten flu symptoms by about a day, studies suggest
September 22, 2018 - AMSBIO launches circulating tumor DNA Reference Standards
September 22, 2018 - Sandalwood mimicking odorant could stimulate hair growth in humans
September 22, 2018 - Overlooked immune cells could play a key role in cancer immunotherapy, claims new study
September 22, 2018 - Study reveals prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among American adults
September 22, 2018 - Researchers develop fast detection strategy to know type of virus acquired by patients
September 22, 2018 - Global Prevalence of Insufficient Activity 27.5 Percent
September 22, 2018 - Strategies to protect bone health in hematologic stem cell transplant recipients
September 22, 2018 - Brigham Genomic Medicine program unravels 30 medical mysteries
September 22, 2018 - New system harnesses power of bubbles to destroy dangerous biofilms
September 22, 2018 - Inflammation plays crucial role in preventing heart attacks and strokes, study reveals
September 22, 2018 - Calorie dense, nutrient deficient meals common across the world
September 22, 2018 - Researchers develop technology to study behavior of implants without animal testing
September 22, 2018 - First gut bacteria in newborns may have lasting effect on ability to ward off chronic diseases
September 22, 2018 - Detection of BFD virus in parrots in 8 new countries raises concerns for threatened species
September 22, 2018 - Insulin treatment shows great potential against chronic bowel inflammation
September 22, 2018 - ‘Liking Gap’ Might Stand in Way of New Friendships
September 22, 2018 - Simple factors that can avoid harmful side effects in type 2 diabetes
September 22, 2018 - ALSAM Foundation invests additional $2 million for drug discovery and development projects
September 22, 2018 - Study findings may advance discussion of how to effectively curb human-wildlife conflict
Study reveals how immune cells in the brain influence sexual behavior

Study reveals how immune cells in the brain influence sexual behavior

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Researchers have found a surprising new explanation of how young brains are shaped for sexual behavior later in life.

Immune cells usually ignored by neuroscientists appear to play an important role in determining whether an animal’s sexual behavior will be more typical of a male or female, according to research led by Kathryn Lenz, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at The Ohio State University.

The study, which was done in rats, appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

To better understand the role of the mast cells in sexual behavior, Lenz and her colleagues silenced the cells in male fetal rats and then observed the rats’ development later in life.

The researchers paired one of these male animals with a female that was receptive to mating and watched to see whether the male sexually pursued the female – basically, whether he chased her and mounted her.

The experimental males were far less interested than typical males, acting almost like females.

The researchers also manipulated female newborn rats, activating the mast cells with a stimulating chemical.

As adults, they acted like males.

“It’s fascinating to watch, because these masculine females don’t have the hardware to engage in male reproductive behavior, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they act,” said Lenz, a researcher in Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. “They appear to be strongly motivated to try to engage in male sexual behavior with other females.”

The researchers found that estrogen (which plays a major role in development of masculine traits in rats) activates mast cells in the brain and that those mast cells drive the animal’s sexual development.

Though scientists know that sex differences are programmed by hormones during early development, they have limited information about the cellular-level changes that contribute to the manner in which the brain and behavior are formed.

“We’re really interested in the fundamental mechanisms that drive brain development and sex-specific brain development, and this study found that mast cells – immune cells involved in allergic responses – play a key role,” Lenz said.

If human development mirrors what was seen in this animal study, it’s possible that relatively minor influences – such as an allergic reaction, injury or inflammation during pregnancy – could steer sexual behavior development in offspring, Lenz said. It’s even conceivable that taking antihistamines or pain relievers during pregnancy could play a role, she said.

Furthermore, this discovery could help explain risks for psychiatric and neurological disorders that are more common in males, including autism, she said.

“These mast cells in the brain appear crucial for life-long brain development, even though there are relatively few of them, and this should really open our eyes to the potential role of different immune cells in the human brain. There’s so much we don’t know, and we need to pay attention to all the cells in the brain and how they talk to each other,” she said.

The study focused on the pre-optic area of the brain, which is part of the hypothalamus.

“This is the most sexually dynamic area of the brain – we know that it’s highly important for male-type reproductive and social behaviors such as mounting and for initiating maternal behavior in female animals,” Lenz said.

Previous work by the researchers uncovered the role of another type of brain cell, microglia, in directing sexual behavior. In the new study, they found that mast cells activate the microglia.

“This new mast cell discovery is really one of those accidents of science,” Lenz said, explaining that another researcher was conducting some unrelated work on sex differences in gene expression and noticed that there appeared to be some differences in mast cell genes depending on whether the brains were from a male or female.

In addition to the behavioral changes documented in the study, the researchers examined cellular-level changes as well. Female newborn rats exposed to a dose of the masculinizing hormone estrogen had an increase in mast cells in the brain. Those cells released histamine, which stimulated other brain cells (the microglia) to activate male-typical brain patterning.

Source:

https://news.osu.edu/immune-cells-in-the-brain-have-surprising-influence-on-sexual-behavior/

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles