Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Sep;68:530-536. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.025. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

A neural circuit encoding sexual preference in humans.

Author information

1
University of Regensburg, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Universitaetsstrasse 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany. Electronic address: timm.poeppl@klinik.uni-regensburg.de.
2
University of Regensburg, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Universitaetsstrasse 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
3
Florida International University, Department of Physics, 11200 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33199, USA.
4
Heinrich Heine University, Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Universitaetsstrasse 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany; Research Centre Jülich, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Wilhelm-Johnen-Strasse, 52428, Jülich, Germany.

Abstract

Sexual preference determines mate choice for reproduction and hence guarantees conservation of species in mammals. Despite this fundamental role in human behavior, current knowledge on its target-specific neurofunctional substrate is based on lesion studies and therefore limited. We used meta-analytic remodeling of neuroimaging data from 364 human subjects with diverse sexual interests during sexual stimulation to quantify neural regions associated with sexual preference manipulations. We found that sexual preference is encoded by four phylogenetically old, subcortical brain structures. More specifically, sexual preference is controlled by the anterior and preoptic area of the hypothalamus, the anterior and mediodorsal thalamus, the septal area, and the perirhinal parahippocampus including the dentate gyrus. In contrast, sexual non-preference is regulated by the substantia innominata. We anticipate the identification of a core neural circuit for sexual preferences to be a starting point for further sophisticated investigations into the neural principles of sexual behavior and particularly of its aberrations.

KEYWORDS:

Activation likelihood estimation; Brain imaging; Meta-analysis; Neuroimaging; Sexual behavior; Sexual preference

PMID:
27339689
PMCID:
PMC5003731
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.06.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center