Androgen receptors (AR) are crucial in the control of male sexual behavior and sex preference. AR are particularly concentrated in areas related with the neuroendocrine control of sex preference including the medial amygdala (MeA), the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH), the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), the medial preoptic area (MPOA), the nucleus accumbens (Acb), the suprachiasmatic (SCh) and supraoptic (SO) nuclei, but also seem to be important for the control of reproductive processes in the hippocampus (CA1-CA4 and dentate gyrus, DG). In the present study we analyzed the density of AR in these brain areas of adult male rats with sexual preference (established in a three-compartment box). Same-sex preference was produced in male rats by the prenatal administration of the aromatase inhibitor, letrozole (0.56 μg/kg/ml s.c. G10-22) that usually produces 1–2 animals per litter with same sex preference, while the others retain a female sex preference. We also included a group of proestrus females that had a clear preference for a sexually active male. AR were analyzed by immunocytochemistry using PG21 as primary antibody. We also measured total plasma testosterone concentrations by radioimmunoassay. In males with same sex preference there was a specific AR overexpression in CA3 and CA4 that suggests a feminized pattern because females in proestrus trend to show a higher density of AR in these hippocampal areas. Sex differences in AR density were found in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACg) and frontoparietal cortex (FrPa). Serum levels of testosterone did not differ between groups. Data are discussed based on the role of AR in the hippocampus.
- Androgen receptors
- Same sex preference
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience