17 November 2015
Dr. Wayne Hawley: “Gonadal Hormone Signaling and Sexual Behaviors”
On Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Dr. Wayne Hawley from Franklin & Marshall University presented his current research study entitled, “Gonadal Hormone Signaling and Sexual Behaviors”. To begin, Dr. Hawley noted that reproduction facilitates pair bonding and stimulates the reward pathway within the brain and centrally released oxytocin mediates mating-induced anxiolysis (anxiety) in male rats. Dr. Hawley’s research centers on analyzing gonad hormone signaling and corresponding sexual behaviors in male and female rats.
While it is known that males possess high levels of testosterone, females also produce small amounts of testosterone as well. Both forms of testosterone activate androgen receptors, however only estradiol activates estrogen in females. If a single dose of testosterone is administered shortly after birth to female rats, their anal-gential space size decreases. Subsequently, female rats also exemplify male rat aesthetics when treated with testosterone after birth. Furthermore, cognition also plays a vital role in the process of reproduction. The effect cognition and gonadal hormones on the hippocampus specifically, enable memory tests to be conducted on rats to analyze activity. When one removes the testes in a male rate, the modulation of neurons in the hippocampus, a major center for the consolation of information and memories, is effected (Hawley, 2015).
Dr. Hawley explained that sex has five distinct stages: attraction, motivation, receptivity, copulation, and post-copulation. In his recent research study, Dr. Hawley has discovered that the activation of g-protein coupled receptor 30 is important in developing spatial cognition in female rats. Estrogen levels naturally elevate during the facilitation of long-term spatial recognition in females and the activation of g-protein coupled receptor 30 aids in a female rat’s long-term spatial recognition memory. Subsequently, testosterone facilitates long-term spatial recognition memory in male rats. Dr. Hawley’s research on gonadal hormone signaling during reproduction, allows for the role of hormone receptors and related neuromodulators during sexual modulation to be analyzed to determine if they impact memory for sexual experience, stress, and sexual behaviors (Hawley, 2015).
In his most recent study, Dr. Hawley allowed male rates to freely explore three open chambers for 20 minutes. He hypothesized that males should spend their time in the chamber that is closest to the sexually receptive female. After the 20 minutes has passed, the female is taken out of chamber and is allowed to freely roam, in which the two most likely have sexual encounters. The task is repeated once again, however this time the males spent the majority of their time in the chamber looking for the female in her last know whereabouts for the first ten minutes and search for her in other places for the last the last ten minutes. Dr. Hawley’s new study allows for the role of gonadal hormone signaling and sexual behaviors in male and female rats the be analyzed (Hawley, 2015).
Overall, I thought that Dr. Hawley did a great job presenting his research and proved himself to be extremely knowledge in the reproductive behaviors of rats. From his lecture I learned that despite being gonad hormones, testosterone and estrogen play integral roles in our long-term spatial recognition memory. reliant upon color and consistent illumination we are as humans. Our reproductive is very complex and involves many more structures other than the most important ones to be properly regulated and exercised.
Hawley, W. (2015, November 10). Gonadal Hormone Signaling and Sexual Behaviors. Lecture
presented in Life Sciences Center Room 134, Hartford, CT.