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Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 18;9(1):279. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02648-0.

Medial preoptic area in mice is capable of mediating sexually dimorphic behaviors regardless of gender.

Wei YC1,2, Wang SR1,2, Jiao ZL1,2, Zhang W1, Lin JK1,2, Li XY1,2, Li SS1,2, Zhang X1, Xu XH3.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience, State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200031, China.
2
University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China.
3
Institute of Neuroscience, State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200031, China. xiaohong.xu@ion.ac.cn.

Abstract

The medial preoptic area (mPOA) differs between males and females in nearly all species examined to date, including humans. Here, using fiber photometry recordings of Ca2+ transients in freely behaving mice, we show ramping activities in the mPOA that precede and correlate with sexually dimorphic display of male-typical mounting and female-typical pup retrieval. Strikingly, optogenetic stimulation of the mPOA elicits similar display of mounting and pup retrieval in both males and females. Furthermore, by means of recording, ablation, optogenetic activation, and inhibition, we show mPOA neurons expressing estrogen receptor alpha (Esr1) are essential for the sexually biased display of these behaviors. Together, these results underscore the shared layout of the brain that can mediate sex-specific behaviors in both male and female mice and provide an important functional frame to decode neural mechanisms governing sexually dimorphic behaviors in the future.

PMID:
29348568
PMCID:
PMC5773506
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-017-02648-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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