News Release 

Dopamine regulates sex differences in worms

Research could have implications for mental health disorders

Society for Neuroscience


IMAGE: Representative tracks left by worms. Four tracks each are shown. Males move around more than hermaphrodites. In mutants that cannot produce dopamine, the sex difference in locomotor activity is smaller.... view more 

Credit: Satoshi Suo

Dopamine is responsible for sex-specific variations in common behaviors, finds a study of worm movements published in JNeurosci. The research demonstrates how the same neurotransmitter can contribute to sex differences, a finding that could have implications for mental disorders.

Male and hermaphrodite roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans) have distinct strategies for finding food and mates. Satoshi Suo and colleagues found the neurotransmitter dopamine has opposite effects on these behaviors that supports each sex's strategy. Dopamine increases locomotor activity in males, which need to move around to find a mate, while reducing the same activity in hermaphrodites, which can reproduce asexually and may conserve energy by staying in place. The researchers show that dopamine acts through different molecular pathways to give rise to these sex differences.


Manuscript title: Sexually Dimorphic Regulation of Behavioral States by Dopamine in Caenorhabditis elegans

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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