PSA-NCAM in the posterodorsal medial amygdala is necessary for the pubertal emergence of attraction to female odors in male hamsters

Martin O. Job, Bradley M. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

During puberty, attention turns away from same-sex socialization to focus on the opposite sex. How the brain mediates this change in perception and motivation is unknown. Polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) virtually disappears from most of the central nervous system after embryogenesis, but it remains elevated in discrete regions of the adult brain. One such brain area is the posterodorsal subnucleus of the medial amygdala (MePD). The MePD has been implicated in male sexual attraction, measured here as the preference to investigate female odors. We hypothesize that PSA-NCAM gates hormone-dependent plasticity necessary for the emergence of males' attraction to females. To evaluate this idea, we first measured PSA-NCAM levels across puberty in several brain regions, and identified when female odor preference normally emerges in male Syrian hamsters. We found that MePD PSA-NCAM staining peaks shortly before the surge of pubertal androgen and the emergence of preference. To test the necessity of PSA-NCAM for female odor preference, we infused endo-neuraminidase-N into the MePD to deplete it of PSAs before female odor preference normally appears. This blocked female odor preference, which suggests that PSA-NCAM facilitates behaviorally relevant, hormone-driven plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume75
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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