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Brain Aromatase, Estrogens, and Behavior$
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Jacques Balthazart and Gregory Ball

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199841196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841196.001.0001

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Aromatase, Low Temperature Dormancy, and Reproduction in the Red-Sided Garter Snake

Aromatase, Low Temperature Dormancy, and Reproduction in the Red-Sided Garter Snake

(p.236) Chapter 13 Aromatase, Low Temperature Dormancy, and Reproduction in the Red-Sided Garter Snake
Brain Aromatase, Estrogens, and Behavior

Randolph W. Krohmer

Oxford University Press

The red-sided garter snake (RSGS) exhibits a dissociated reproductive pattern, mating when gonads are inactive. Although it is now recognized that sex steroid hormone plasma concentrations remain elevated throughout low temperature dormancy (LTD) and at the beginning of the breeding season, the only cue found to initiate courtship in the RSGS is a period of LTD with courtship intensity correlated to the length of dormancy. In male RSGS, aromatase immunoreactive (ARO-ir) cells were found throughout the forebrain with large immunoreactive cells concentrated in regions essential for the control of reproductive behaviors. Aromatase activity (AA) in the RSGS brain varied seasonally as well as regionally with the highest activity in the anterior hypothalamus preoptic area (AHPOA) occurring in fall before LTD. Recen data suggest a mechanism by which accumulation of estrogenic metabolites within pathways controlling courtship and mating is critical for activation of reproductive behavior on emergence from LTD.

Keywords:   aromatase, dissociated reproductive pattern, lesions, low temperature dormancy, red-sided garter snake, sex steroid concentrating nuclei, Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis

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