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

Seasonal plasticity of brain aromatase mRNA expression in glia: divergence across sex and vocal phenotypes.

Although teleost fishes have the highest levels of brain aromatase (estrogen synthase) compared to other vertebrates, little is known of its regulation and function in specific brain areas. Previously, we characterized the distribution of aromatase in the brain of midshipman fish, a model system for identifying the neural and endocrine basis of vocal-acoustic communication and alternative male reproductive tactics. Here, we quantified seasonal changes in brain aromatase mRNA expression in the inter- and intrasexually dimorphic sonic motor nucleus (SMN) and in the preoptic area (POA) in males and females in relation to seasonal changes in circulating steroid hormone levels and reproductive behaviors. Aromatase mRNA expression was compared within each sex throughout non-reproductive, pre-nesting, and nesting periods as well as between sexes within each season. Intrasexual (male) differences were also compared within the nesting period. Females had higher mRNA levels in the pre-nesting period when their steroid levels peaked, while acoustically courting (type I) males had highest expression during the nesting period when their steroid levels peaked. Females had significantly higher levels of expression than type I males in all brain areas, but only during the pre-nesting period. During the nesting period, non-courting type II males had significantly higher levels of aromatase mRNA in the SMN but equivalent levels in the POA compared to type I males and females. These results demonstrate seasonal and sex differences in brain aromatase mRNA expression in a teleost fish and suggest a role for aromatase in the expression of vocal-acoustic and alternative male reproductive phenotypes.[1]


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