Hypothalamic cellular and molecular plasticity linked to sexual experience in male rats and mice

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2021 Oct;63:100949. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2021.100949. Epub 2021 Oct 20.


Male sexual behavior is subject to learning, resulting in increased efficiency of experienced males compared to naive ones. The improvement in behavioral parameters is underpinned by cellular and molecular changes in the neural circuit controlling sexual behavior, particularly in the hypothalamic medial preoptic area. This review provides an update on the mechanisms related to the sexual experience in male rodents, emphasizing the differences between rats and mice.

Keywords: Male sexual behavior; Medial preoptic area; Sexual experience.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hypothalamus
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Preoptic Area*
  • Rats
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*