LC dendritic processes are more extensive and complex in female than male rats. Building on each other in point-counterpoint fashion, the papers tell a fascinating story of an emerging science working out its core assumptions. Abstract The recognition that there are fundamental biological sex differences that extend beyond those that define sexual behavior and reproductive function has inspired the drive toward inclusion of both sexes in research design. The corticotropin-releasing factor-locus coeruleus synapse Although stress is generally considered in terms of the pathophysiology with which it is associated, the stress response is adaptive and critical to survival. By having a dendritic system of higher complexity that extends further into the peri-LC and makes more synaptic contacts, the female LC has a greater probability of communication with CRF terminals from the CNA that are conveying emotion-related information. A component of the CRF-mediated stress response is its engagement of the forebrain-projecting norepinephrine system through its actions on the pontine nucleus, LC. A major point of intersection between stress and arousal circuits is at the synapses between axon terminals containing the stress neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor CRF and dendrites of norepinephrine-containing locus coeruleus LC neurons. Likewise, patients with these diseases often present with end points of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA -axis dysfunction, such as dysregulated plasma cortisol rhythms and adrenal hypertrophy.
Each section builds from basic concepts to early experiments, from experimental models to humans, and from molecules to mind. Historically, the conventional thinking has been that circulating sex hormones alter physiological systems in a way that determines these factors. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. The disorders that are nearly twice as prevalent in females than in males include posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD , affective disorders, and anxiety disorders. However, at a more basic level, sex differences, like genetic differences, can be exploited to better understand biology. Stress precipitates or worsens symptoms. Likewise, patients with these diseases often present with end points of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA -axis dysfunction, such as dysregulated plasma cortisol rhythms and adrenal hypertrophy. Given that stress and altered arousal are two common threads through the psychiatric disorders that prevail in females, the sex disparity in pathophysiology should lie at the intersection between neural circuits that convey information about stress and those that underlie arousal. Thus, as a result of sexual dimorphic dendritic properties, the structure for emotional arousal through which CRF transmits information is potentially greater in females than in males. This collection of foundational papers on sex differences in the brain traces the development of a much-invoked, fast-growing young field at the intersection of brain and behavior. Projections of Barrington's nucleus and PGi CRF neurons to the LC provide a mechanism whereby central noradrenergic activity can be coordinated with autonomic activity in response to an acute stress. These examples underscore the diversity and complexity in the mechanisms through which sex differences in disease vulnerability can arise. Their dendritic trees are longer, have more branches, and have longer branch lengths. LC dendritic processes are more extensive and complex in female than male rats. Sex and the Brain will show students how a scientific paper can be analyzed from many perspectives, and supply them with critical tools for judging a rapidly emerging science in a contentious area. A component of the CRF-mediated stress response is its engagement of the forebrain-projecting norepinephrine system through its actions on the pontine nucleus, LC. Through studies that use the four-core-gene mouse model to distinguish the roles of chromosomal and gonadal sex, evidence has been provided for a genetic basis contributing to sex differences in certain social behaviors, habit formation, nociception, and sensitivity to morphine. Abstract The recognition that there are fundamental biological sex differences that extend beyond those that define sexual behavior and reproductive function has inspired the drive toward inclusion of both sexes in research design. A Sholl analysis indicated that the LC dendritic structure is of increased complexity in females versus males. Here, we discuss how sex differences at the molecular level of cell signaling and protein trafficking are amplified to create a state of vulnerability that under the right conditions can result in symptoms of neuropsychiatry disease. Notably, unlike the cell-rich compact LC nucleus, the peri-LC is less dense and more heterogeneous, containing neurochemically diverse neurons. However, if they are initiated outside of the context of acute stress or if they are maintained long after stress termination, these same responses would become expressions of the arousal-related pathology that characterizes PTSD, depression, and anxiety. This extended to the concept that the actions of hormones specifically occurring during critical windows of development organize morphology and neural circuitry in a sex-specific manner. Experimental and theoretical papers, woven together by editor's introductions, open a window onto knowledge in the making and a vigorous debate between reductionist and pluralist interpreters. Sex disparities in the major psychiatric diseases have been well documented.
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