New knowledge about the hormonal signals like peptide signals reveals that they play an important role in information processing in the brain along with the conventional neurotransmitters.
Investigations done by the scientists of University of Edinburgh report that hypothalamic neurons use the chemical signals of 60 types of peptides to communicate. These peptides when are released within the brain, control different forms of behavior that includes social and sexual behaviors.
Researchers have described the role played by alpha-MSH, which is peptide neuro-hormone and can stimulate oxytocin hormone release from the dendrites, while it may block the release of the hormone from other sites.
In their experiments, researchers had tried to establish a link between endogenous alpha-MSH, or the alpha-MSH produced in the brain and its effect on the sexual behaviors of animals. In their experiments with genetically controlled mice they had showed that the effects of the endogenous alpha-MSH are quite evident in the sexual behaviors of the mice. The researchers also conclude that there is a system in which the alpha-MSH generating neurons play an important part in controlling the sex drive of the animals. The research suggests that it is important to understand the fine details of dendrite release as the oxytocin hormone is also involved in arousing friendly and motherly feelings.
Reference: University of Edinburgh, news release, July 2005