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From the article:

Behavioral responses to sexually receptive females such as mounting, and toward intruder males such as biting and attacks, were recorded in adult mice. The reduction of both sexual and aggressive behavior by ERα [estrogen receptor alpha] silencing in the MeA [medial amygdala] before puberty but not in adults suggests the importance of the receptor in this location during puberty. “ERα knockdown in the MeA may even have affected the onset of puberty itself,” first author Dr. Kazuhiro Sano says. “This contrasts with the silencing of ERα in the MPOA [medial preoptic area], which reduced sexual but not aggressive behavior in mice, regardless of the time of knockdown treatment.” These findings suggest that ERα gene expression in the MPOA does not control male aggression through either the organizational role of testosterone at puberty, or its regulatory role in adulthood.

To understand why ERα silencing in different areas of the brain had varying effects, the team examined MeA cells. They found that neuronal cells were greatly reduced in MeA in which ERα expression had been inhibited before puberty. “ERα in the MeA seems to be necessary for testosterone to masculinize the neural circuitry for social behavior during puberty,” corresponding author Dr. Sonoko Ogawa explains. “If this masculinization is incomplete, social signals that enable adults to express male social behavior may not function correctly.”

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