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Brain research

Selective enhancement of main olfactory input to the medial amygdala by GnRH.


PMID 20026310

Abstract

In male hamsters mating behavior is dependent on chemosensory input from the main olfactory and vomeronasal systems, whose central pathways contain cell bodies and fibers of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. In sexually naive males, vomeronasal organ removal (VNX), but not main olfactory lesions, impairs mating behavior. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.)-GnRH restores mating in sexually naive VNX males and enhances medial amygdala (Me) immediate-early gene activation by chemosensory stimulation. In sexually experienced males, VNX does not impair mating and i.c.v.-GnRH suppresses Me activation. Thus, the main olfactory system is sufficient for mating in experienced-VNX males, but not in naive-VNX males. We investigated the possibility that GnRH enhances main olfactory input to the amygdala in naive-VNX males using i.c.v.-GnRH and pharmacological stimulation (bicuculline/D,L-homocysteic acid mixture) of the main olfactory bulb (MOB). In sexually naive intact males there was a robust increase of Fos protein expression in the anteroventral medial amygdala (MeAv) with MOB stimulation, but no effect of GnRH. There was no effect of stimulation or GnRH in posterodorsal medial amygdala (MePd). In naive-VNX animals, GnRH increased Fos in MeAv and MePv. Only combined MOB stimulation and i.c.v.-GnRH produced a significant increase in Fos in the dorsal (reproduction-related) portion of MeP (MePd). When the animals were sexually experienced before VNX, a condition in which GnRH does not enhance mating, i.c.v.-GnRH combined with MOB stimulation suppressed Fos expression in MePd. This suggests a more selective effect of GnRH on olfactory input in MePd than elsewhere in medial amygdala of VNX males.

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