Title

Decreasing GAD Neonatally Attenuates Steroid-induced Sexual Differentiation of the Rat Brain.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2000

DOI

10.1037/0735-7044.114.5.923

Version

Citation

Publication Title

Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

gonadal steroids, sexual differentiation, brain development, GABA, Lordosis

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

During development, exposure to gonadal steroids results in brain sexual differentiation. Postnatally, hypothalamic gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels are almost double in males versus females. We hypothesized that increased GABA neonatally results in masculinization. Males, females, and androgenized females were infused intrahypothalamically with antisense oligonucleotides against glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) mRNA at birth to reduce GABA synthesis. GAD protein and GABA levels were reduced 24 hr later without obvious toxic effects, as determined by histological examination. As adults, neonatally antisense-treated, androgenized females showed reduced intromission-like behavior and lordosis quotients compared with vehicle and scrambled controls. Lordosis quotients were reduced about 50% in nonandrogenized females versus vehicle and scrambled controls. These data suggest that GABA is involved in mediating brain sex differentiation and may act in both males and females.