In mammals, sex differences in the adult brain are established very early in development, when the brain is still very immature. In the case of having inherited the SRY gene, during embryogenesis, testosterone secreted by the testes enters the brain and is converted to estradiol by the aromatase. Then the estradiol acts by binding to intracellular estrogen receptors (ERs) located predominantly in neurons, masculinizing specific brain regions. But ERs are also transcription factors that, when they are exposed to their ligand, dimerize and form complexes with coactivator proteins and corepressors, modifying the transcription of multiple target genes in a cascade effect and ultimately neuronal function. Given the intimate relationship between steroids and brain dimorphism, and steroid coactivators and gene transcription, in the present work, we further explore the implication of ERs α and β, and steroid coactivators NCoA-1, NCoA-2, NCoA-3, NCoA-4, NCoA-5 and p300-CREBBP, in the genesis of brain dimorphism. Based on our data, we believe that the coactivators NCOA-1, NCOA-2 and p300-CREBBP could be considered as candidate genes for GI.
Part of the book: Oxytocin and Health