About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

How Gender is Determined in the Brain During Prenatal Development

by Bidita Debnath on April 5, 2015 at 10:33 PM
Font : A-A+

How Gender is Determined in the Brain During Prenatal Development

In a study, published in Nature Neuroscience, Dr. Margaret McCarthy from the University of Maryland and colleagues studied brain development in newborn rats.

During prenatal development, the brains of most animals, including humans, develop specifically male or female characteristics. She found that giving estradiol, a testosterone derivative, triggers a mechanism by which certain genes in the brain are "unsilenced", allowing them to initiate the process of masculinisation.

Advertisement

This process involves a group of enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases, or Dnmts, which modify DNA to repress gene expression.

"This gives us a new understanding of how gender is determined in the brain," said McCarthy. The researchers also found that by inhibiting Dnmts, they could alter the reproductive behavior of male and female mice. Researchers injected Dnmts inhibitors into a specific region of the female brains, a region known as the preoptic area, or POA.
Advertisement

In every species that's been studied, including humans, the POA plays a key role in governing male sexual behavior. The injections occurred after the first week of birth, the time when the window for brain sexual differentiation was thought to have been closed. Despite this, the preoptic area in these animals was transformed, and took on structural characteristics of a male rat. The female rats also behaved differently, displaying sexual behavior typical of male rats.

In another experiment, they genetically deleted the Dnmts gene in female mice. These animals also showed male behavior patterns. "Physically, these animals were females, but in their reproductive behavior, they were males. It was fascinating to see this transformation," said co-researcher Bridget Nugent.

Source: IANS
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Can Adjusting Fatty Acid Intake Improve Mood in Bipolar Disorder Patients?
Insulin Resistance Doubles the Risk of Major Depressive Disorder
Emotional Healing
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Pregnancy and Antenatal Care Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 

Recommended Reading
Light Therapy may Improve Brain's Cognitive Function in War Veterans
Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System are using infrared light therapy to ......
Brain Structure, Family Income Impact Kids' Cognitive Functioning
Children who come from a richer, educated backgrounds have bigger brains and better cognitive ......
Prosthetic Hand Works Without Brain Implants, Uses Power of Thought
The advanced interpretation of brain signals is captured non-invasively and was used to create a ......
New Drug Stops Alzheimer's Disease, Even Reverses Brain Damage
The pharmaceutical company in a press release said that the drug performed well in initial trails .....
Ataxia
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Pregnancy and Antenatal Care
What is Antenatal care and its importance during pregnancy for mother and baby, with details on the ...
Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a psychological measure of human intelligence. Regular physical and me...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use