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Figure 1

Nature Neuroscience  7, 1034 - 1039 (2004)
Published online: 27 September 2004; | doi:10.1038/nn1325

Sexual differentiation of the vertebrate nervous system

John A Morris, Cynthia L Jordan & S Marc Breedlove
Fig 1 full size
Figure 1. Sexual dimorphisms in the brain.
(a,b) The sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA) is larger in male rats (a) than in females (b) because the testes secrete testosterone during the perinatal sensitive period. After that time, testosterone has little effect on SDN-POA volume. (c,d) In contrast, the volume of the rat posterodorsal medial amygdala (MePD), which is about 1.5 times larger in males (c) than in females (d), retains its responsiveness to testosterone throughout life. (e,f) In zebra finches, the robustus archistriatum (RA) nucleus is crucial for song production and has a greater volume in males (e) than in females (f). Like the rat SDN-POA, exposure to steroid hormones early in life is essential for the RA to develop a masculine phenotype. For the RA, however, the steroids may not originate from the testes, but are rather synthesized locally in the brain itself. SCN, suprachiasmatic nucleus; 3V, third ventricle; ot, optic tract. All scale bars = 250 mum.

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