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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Sex differentiation of growth hormone-releasing hormone and somatostatin neurons in the mouse hypothalamus: an immunohistochemical and morphological study.

We examine sexual dimorphism in growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) in the arcuate nucleus (ARC), and somatostatin (SS) in the periventricular nucleus (PeN) of the hypothalamus, and investigate when it becomes evident. Using immunohistochemical staining and morphometry, we observed ARC GHRH-immunoreactive (ir) neurons, ARC SS-ir neurons and PeN SS-ir neurons in male and female mice at 5, 20, 30, 40 and 60 days old. The number of ARC GHRH-ir neurons was significantly higher in males than females, after 20 days old. ARC SS-ir neurons showed no significant differences between sexes. On the other hand, PeN SS-ir neurons were significantly more numerous in males at 30, 40 and 60 days than in females. During postnatal development, these GHRH- and SS-ir neurons changed in different patterns from ages 20 to 60 days. The number of ARC GHRH-ir neurons in both sexes decreased from 5 to 20 days, increased until day 40, and then decreased at day 60, while ARC SS-ir neurons in both sexes increased from day 5 to day 60. PeN SS-ir neurons in both sexes increased from days 5 to 20 to 116% in males and 189% in females. Furthermore, in male mice, the increase continued until 40 days of age, while in females, there was no significant difference from days 20 to 60. There were no apoptotic cells; a few proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) stained cells were found in the ARC and PeN. Our results suggest that the sex difference of ARC GHRH neurons and PeN SS neurons appears by stimulation with testosterone during the development life. The developmental fluctuation in the number of ARC GHRH-ir neurons may not be modulated by testosterone, but by ARC SS neurons.[1]


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