neuro endocrine system and sexual development

What is the neuro endocrine system’s involvement with sexual development?
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  1. What is the neuro endocrine system’s involvement with sexual development?

The subject of neuroendocrine control mechanism is complex and complicated. One of the main neuroendrocine systems involved in sexual development is the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.

For example, it is well known that the hypothalamus plays a major integrative role in the control of maternal and reproductive behavior, including sexual development, and differentiation, as well as sexual behavior through different releasing of hormones. However, the three endrocine systems work together in sexual development. For example, the hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The anterior portion of the pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and the gonads produce estrogen and testosterone. The distribution of these hormones is involved in sexual differentiation and sexuall development of the fetus (

The stimuli that are important for the various aspects of reproductive functions come from a variety of exteroceptive and interoceptive sources, such as circulating gonadal steroids. This results in differences between male and female, which are not limited to sexual organs and secondary sex characteristics; they are also evident within the CNS. For example, there is a sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area, which is considerably larger in males and the same is true for a cell group in the sacral spinal cord known as the nucleus bulbocavernosus.

The following excerpt expands on the influence of the Brain-Pituitary-Gonadal relationship and the hormones involved in aspects of sexual differentiation and development in females and males.



Sexual behavior involves a number of general (e.g. respiratory and cardiovascular) and specific (e.g. erection, ejaculation, etc) responses mediated in large part by the autonomic nervous system. Although several of these specific responses represent involuntary or reflex phenomena, descending pathways from the hypothalamus or basal forebrain regions play a significant modulatory role. A critical brain area in male copulatory behavior seems to be the medial preoptic area, whereas feminine sexual behavior appears to be more dependent on regions in and around the ventromedial nucleus.

Ovarian function is cyclic. In women, the first half of the menstrual cycle is characterized by the growth and development of a cohort of follicles, culminating with selection and ovulation of the ovum from a single dominant follicle at about 14 days from the beginning of the cycle. After ovulation, the cells of the collapsed follicle are reorganized into a transiently functional, steroid producing gland, the corpus luteum, that secretes progesterone and estrogen. Should …

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