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Figure 2

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 2 full size
Figure 2. The conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
In male rats, the testes secrete testosterone, which is converted into an estrogen in the brain by the enzyme aromatase. Estrogen then binds to estrogen receptors (ER) to modulate gene expression such that the SDN-POA differentiates in a masculine fashion. Steroid reduces naturally occurring cell death, resulting in more neurons surviving in males than in females.

Debbie Maizels

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