Gonadal influences on the sexual differentiation of monoamine oxidase type A and B activities in the rat brain

A. Vaccari, A. Caviglia, A. Sparatore, R. Biassoni

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The sex-dependent differentiation of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the hypothalamus of 60-day-old, Charles River rats was found to involve only type A (MAO-A), and not type B (MAO-B) enzyme. In vivo inhibition of type A by chlorgyline, and type B by (-)-deprenyl, however, tended to decrease the specific activity of both types of MAO to a smaller extent in the female than in the male hypothalamus. When masculinization was prevented by neonatal administration of estradiol (E) to males, hypotalamic MAO-A and MAO-B activities increased in both control and MAO-inhibited rats. Androgenization of females, however, had little effect on the MAO activity. Whereas the effects of neonatal estrogenization were attributable neither to a direct influence of E nor to a sexual difference in the peripheral clearance of the MAO-inhibitor used, single, high doses of steroids to adult, but not to newborn rats, did acutely affect the kinetics of MAO-A. The activity of MAO-A was also decreased by high concentrations of E or TS in vitro. The imprinting for patterns of hypothalamic MAO-A and MAO-B in the two sexes results, probably, from genetic predetermination. Neonatal changes in the homeostasis of gonadal hormones may result in type-MAO nonspecific effects in adulthood, whereas the short-term effects of high concentrations of steroids may be selective for the A form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-648
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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