[Women and Future in Science Seminar]Neural basis controlling the timing of female sexual behavior
Nov. 29, 2021 15:30 - 16:00
Advance registration is required for participants outiside of RIKEN BDR.
Behaviors are associated to the internal physiological state. In many species, including mice, females dramatically change their sexual behaviors along the state of ovulation. Females are sexually receptive exclusively during the estrus, ovulatory phase of the estrous cycle, while they are not receptive during other phases. Sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are required for both ovulation and female sexual behavior. Although central and peripheral mechanisms of ovulation is well characterized, neural circuit mechanisms underlying the estrus-associated change of the behavior is poorly understood. We have previously shown that progesterone receptor (PR) expressing neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) are essential for female sexual behavior. Here we examined whether PR+ VMH neurons play a role in the estrus-associated change of female sexual behavior. We find that PR+ VMH neurons significantly strengthen their functional connections during estrus with the anteroventral periventricular nucleus. We further find that these projections are essential for female sexual receptivity during estrus. These findings demonstrate that periodic remodeling in this behaviorally salient connections play a critical role in associating female sexual behavior with internal physiological state. We will present these and recent findings to discuss hypothalamic circuit mechanisms that control the timing of female sexual behavior.
BDR Diversity Working Group