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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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The Aromatization Hypothesis, 1970–1990

The Aromatization Hypothesis, 1970–1990

(p.155) Chapter 9 The Aromatization Hypothesis, 1970–1990
Brain Aromatase, Estrogens, and Behavior

Lynwood G. Clemens

Oxford University Press

In the 1970s Carlos Beyers and his colleagues demonstrated that androgens that cannot be aromatized to estrogen also do not mimic testosterone in some test situations. These early tests of the “aromatization” hypothesis led to three sets of predictions to test the hypothesis: (1) If estrogen metabolites of testosterone are necessary for it to facilitate sexual behavior, then androgens that are not aromatized to estradiol will not sustain male or female sexual behavior. (2) If estrogen metabolites of testosterone are necessary to facilitate sexual behavior, then antiestrogen compounds should block testosterone facilitation of sexual behavior. (3) If estrogen metabolites of testosterone are required for facilitation of sexual behavior, compounds that inhibit the aromatase enzyme should block testosterone facilitation of sexual behavior. These three predictions directed much of the research on this topic for nearly two decades and led to increasingly better controlled experiments.

Keywords:   antiestrogen, aromatase, aromatization, estradiol, female sexual behavior, male sexual behavior, reduced androgens, testosterone

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