NEURODEVELOPMENT

Gender in the brain

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Science  23 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6417, pp. 906-907
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6417.906-f

The hippocampus of the brain is important for higher-order cognitive function, such as learning and memory. Derangements in this region are associated with autism spectrum, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and epilepsy. While looking at the development of neurons during formation of the hippocampus in mice, Chung and Bailey found differences between males and females. In the early postnatal period, when hippocampal circuitry is being built, these neurons depend on signaling through nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Whole-cell electrophysiology showed that these nascent hippocampal neurons in female mice showed greater excitability, higher resting membrane potential, and greater input resistance than neurons of male mice. These sex-dependent differences occurred during development of circuits that, at maturity, facilitate cognitive functions.

Dev. Neurobiol. 10.1002/dneu.22646 (2018).

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