Visualizing sexual dimorphism in the brain

Neuron. 2004 Aug 5;43(3):313-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.07.008.


Sexually dimorphic behaviors are likely to involve neural pathways that express the androgen receptor (AR). We have genetically modified the AR locus to visualize dimorphisms in neuronal populations that express AR. Analysis of AR-positive neurons reveals both known dimorphisms in the preoptic area of the hypothalamus and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis as well as novel dimorphic islands in the basal forebrain with a clarity unencumbered by the vast population of AR-negative neurons. This genetic approach allows the visualization of dimorphic subpopulations of AR-positive neurons along with their projections and may ultimately permit an association between neural circuits and specific dimorphic behaviors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Androgen / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology


  • Receptors, Androgen