Sexual differentiation of neural circuitry in the neuroendocrine hypothalamus

Sexual differentiation of neural circuitry in the neuroendocrine hypothalamus
Akira Matsumoto and Yasumasa Aral ( Japan )

Estr ogen or aromatizable androgen exerts potent in- fluences on modulating neural development and neural cir- cuit formation in developing sex steroid-sensitive neuroen- docrine hypothalamus. Sex steroids can act as a neurotropic factor on neural tissues, stimulating axonal and dendritic growth and synapse formation. Sex steroids are involved in regulation of expression of certain structural proteins and their messenger ribonucleic acids in the hypothalamic neu- rons, which could affect neuropil organization. These orga- nizational actions of sex steroids seem to induce permanent sexual difference in neuronal circuitry driving neuroendo- crine and behavioral functions of the hypothalamus.
Biomed Rev 1997; 7: 5-15
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Received for publication 5 April 1997 and accepted 18 May 1997

Correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Yasumasa Arai, Department of Anatomy, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Hongo, Tokyo I 13, Japan. Tel: 81 (3) 5802 1024, Fax: 81 (3) 5800 0245
E-mail: yarai@med.juntendo.ac.jp

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