Metabolic activity of the human ventromedial nucleus neurons in relation to sex and ageing

T. A. Ishunina, U. A. Unmehopa, J. J. van Heerikhuize, C. W. Pool, D. F. Swaab

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The ventromedial nucleus (VMN) in animals is involved in a number of sexually dimorphic behaviors, including reproduction, and is a well-documented target for sex steroids. In rats and in lizards, it is also characterized by the presence of structural sexual dimorphisms. In the present study, we determined whether the metabolic activity of human ventromedial nucleus neurons was sex- or age-related. The size of the immunocytochemically defined Golgi apparatus (GA) and cell profiles were determined as measures for neuronal metabolic activity in 12 male and 16 female control brains sub-divided into four groups with the dividing line being the age of 50. It appeared that the size of the GA relative to cell size was 34% larger in young women ( <50 years old) than in young men and was 25% larger in elderly men (> or = 50 years old) than in young men. In addition, the GA/cell size ratio correlated significantly with age in men and not in women. Our data suggest that androgens play an inhibitory role with respect to the metabolic activity of the human VMN neurons
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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