Hypothalamic inhibition of socio-sexual behaviour by increasing neuroestrogen synthesis

Takayoshi Ubuka, Shogo Haraguchi, Yasuko Tobari, Misato Narihiro, Kei Ishikawa, Takanori Hayashi, Nobuhiro Harada, Kazuyoshi Tsutsui*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    97 Citations (Scopus)


    Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that inhibits gonadotropin secretion and socio-sexual behaviours. Oestrogen (neuroestrogen) synthesized in the brain from androgen by aromatase regulates male socio-sexual behaviours. Here we show that GnIH directly activates aromatase and increases neuroestrogen synthesis in the preoptic area (POA) and inhibits socio-sexual behaviours of male quail. Aromatase activity and neuroestrogen concentration in the POA are low in the morning when the birds are active, but neuroestrogen synthesis gradually increases until the evening when the birds become inactive. Centrally administered GnIH in the morning increases neuroestrogen synthesis in the POA and decreases socio-sexual behaviours. Centrally administered 17β-oestradiol at higher doses also inhibits socio-sexual behaviours in the morning. These results suggest that GnIH inhibits male socio-sexual behaviours by increasing neuroestrogen synthesis beyond its optimum concentration for the expression of socio-sexual behaviours. This is the first demonstration of any hypothalamic neuropeptide that directly regulates neuroestrogen synthesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3061
    JournalNature Communications
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 16

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Chemistry(all)
    • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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