Researchers discover mechanism for how male sex steroids sculpt brain development

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Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have discovered a mechanism for how androgens — male sex steroids — sculpt brain development. The research, conducted by Margaret M. McCarthy, Ph.D., who Chairs the Department of Pharmacology, could ultimately help researchers understand behavioral development differences between males and females.

The research, published in Neuron, discovered a mechanism for how androgens, male sex steroids, sculpt the brains of male rats to produce behavioral differences, such as more aggression and rougher play behavior. “We already knew that the brains of males and females are different and that testosterone produced during the second trimester in humans and late gestation in rodents contributes to the differences but we did not know how testosterone has these effects” said Dr. McCarthy.

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