Changes in gene expression within the nucleus accumbens and striatum following sexual experience

K. C. Bradley, M. B. Boulware, H. Jiang, R. W. Doerge, R. L. Meisel, P. G. Mermelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual experience, like repeated drug use, produces long-term changes including sensitization in the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum. To better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the neuroadaptations following sexual experience, we employed a DNA microarray approach to identify genes differentially expressed between sexually experienced and sexually naïve female hamsters within the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum. For 6 weeks, a stimulus male was placed in the home cage of one-half of the hormonally primed, ovariectomized female hamsters. On the seventh week, the two experimental groups were subdivided, with one half paired with a stimulus male. In comparison with sexually naïve animals, sexually experienced hamsters receiving a stimulus male on week 7 exhibited an increase in a large number of genes. Conversely, sexually experienced female hamsters not receiving a stimulus male on week 7 exhibited a reduction in the expression of many genes. For directional changes and the categories of genes regulated by the experimental conditions, data were consistent across the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum. However, the specific genes exhibiting changes in expression were disparate. These experiments, among the first to profile genes regulated by female sexual behavior, will provide insight into the mechanisms by which both motivated behaviors and drugs of abuse induce long-term changes in the mesolimbic and nigrostriatal dopamine pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2005

Keywords

  • Dopamine
  • Female sexual behavior
  • Hamster
  • Microarray
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Real-time PCR
  • Sensitization
  • Striatum

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