The human brain is anatomically and functionally sexually dimorphic. While specific debates on this topic have occurred for decades, sexual dimorphism is generally acknowledged with respect to brain size, cognitive function, emotional expression, and other behavior patterns. One of the most widely-accepted sexually dimorphic brain structures is the sexually dimorphic nucleus, a cluster of cells located in the preoptic area of the hypothalamus. As demonstrated in laboratory animal studies, the sexually dimorphic nucleus is critically implicated in sexual behavior. In humans, the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area has been linked to sexual orientation. Sex hormone-like compounds can be found throughout the environment, occurring in natural and processed foods, food and drink containers, and medical devices. Many of these are capable of altering normal development and exerting pathophysiological effects on the central nervous system, most noticeably in sexually dimorphic brain structures. There is increasing evidence that perinatal exposure to estrogen-like compounds may be associated with a host of health problems. Zhen He and colleagues from the Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, USA aim to review the latest advances in morphological definition, developmental mechanisms, and environmental factors (i.e., estrogen-like compounds) that can influence the development of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area. This review is published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 29, 2013).
Article: " Development of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area and the influence of estrogen-like compounds " by Zhen He1, 2, Sherry Ann Ferguson1, Li Cui2, Lazar John Greenfield2, Merle Gale Paule1 (1 Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA; 2 Department of Neurology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72005, USA)
He Z, Ferguson SA, Cui L, Greenfield LJ, Paule MG. Development of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area and the influence of estrogen-like compounds. Neural Regen Res. 2013;8(29):2763-2774.