Organization and regulation of sexually dimorphic neuroendocrine pathways

Behav Brain Res. 1998 May;92(2):195-203. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(97)00191-5.


Reproduction depends on the co-ordinated expression of stereotypical behaviors and precisely timed physiological events, yet the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the integration of sensory and hormonal information that is crucial to this process have remained difficult to define. A variety of experimental approaches has provided compelling evidence that the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) of the preoptic region plays a particularly important role in the neural control of gonadotropin secretion. It is larger in female rats, contains high densities of neurons that express receptors for ovarian steroid hormones and appears to provide direct projections to gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons in the hypothalamus. Moreover, it receives inputs from a variety of distinct sensory systems known to influence secretion of luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary. Thus, the AVPV appears to represent an important nodal point in sexually dimorphic forebrain circuits for the integration of sensory and hormonal information that influence reproduction. Examples of neurohumoral integration at the level of functional neural systems, individual neurons in the AVPV, or at the molecular level have been identified which provide new insight into how the hypothalamus co-ordinates expression of sex specific reproductive behaviors with gonadotropin secretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / anatomy & histology
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones