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Horm Behav. 2001 Sep;40(2):86-92.

The interstitial nuclei of the human anterior hypothalamus: an investigation of variation with sex, sexual orientation, and HIV status.

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Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


The interstitial nuclei of the human anterior hypothalamus (INAH1-4) have been considered candidates for homology with the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area of the rat. Volumetric sexual dimorphism has been described for three of these nuclei (INAH1-3), and INAH3 has been reported to be smaller in homosexual than heterosexual men. The current study measured the INAH in Nissl-stained coronal sections in autopsy material from 34 presumed heterosexual men (24 HIV- and 10 HIV+), 34 presumed heterosexual women (25 HIV- and 9 HIV+), and 14 HIV+ homosexual men. HIV status significantly influenced the volume of INAH1 (8% larger in HIV+ heterosexual men and women relative to HIV- individuals), but no other INAH. INAH3 contained significantly more neurons and occupied a greater volume in presumed heterosexual males than females. No sex difference in volume was detected for any other INAH. No sexual variation in neuronal size or density was observed in any INAH. Although there was a trend for INAH3 to occupy a smaller volume in homosexual men than in heterosexual men, there was no difference in the number of neurons within the nucleus based on sexual orientation.

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