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Steroid profiles in quail brain and serum: Sex and regional differences and effects of castration with steroid replacement

Abstract : Both systemic and local production contribute to the concentration of steroids measured in the brain. This idea was originally based on rodent studies and was later extended to other species, including humans and birds. In quail, a widely used model in behavioural neuroendocrinology, it was demonstrated that all enzymes needed to produce sex steroids from cholesterol are expressed and active in the brain, although the actual concentrations of steroids produced were never investigated. We carried out a steroid profiling in multiple brain regions and serum of sexually mature male and female quail by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The concentrations of some steroids (eg, corticosterone, progesterone and testosterone) were in equilibrium between the brain and periphery, whereas other steroids (eg, pregnenolone (PREG), 5α/β‐dihydroprogesterone and oestrogens) were more concentrated in the brain. In the brain regions investigated, PREG sulphate, progesterone and oestrogen concentrations were higher in the hypothalamus‐preoptic area. Progesterone and its metabolites were more concentrated in the female than the male brain, whereas testosterone, its metabolites and dehydroepiandrosterone were more concentrated in males, suggesting that sex steroids present in quail brain mainly depend on their specific steroidogenic pathways in the ovaries and testes. However, the results of castration experiments suggested that sex steroids could also be produced in the brain independently of the peripheral source. Treatment with testosterone or oestradiol restored the concentrations of most androgens or oestrogens, respectively, although penetration of oestradiol in the brain appeared to be more limited. These studies illustrate the complex interaction between local brain synthesis and the supply from the periphery for the steroids present in the brain that are either directly active or represent the substrate of centrally located enzymes.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03118293
Contributor : Pascal Lallemant <>
Submitted on : Friday, January 22, 2021 - 9:45:57 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 10:36:27 AM

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Philippe Liere, Charlotte Cornil, Marie Pierre de Bournonville, Antoine Pianos, Matthieu Keller, et al.. Steroid profiles in quail brain and serum: Sex and regional differences and effects of castration with steroid replacement. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Wiley, 2019, 31 (2), pp.1-22. ⟨10.1111/jne.12681⟩. ⟨hal-03118293⟩

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