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BSTc region of brain

Jim Kohl jkohl at vegas.infi.net
Sun Feb 4 00:24:37 EST 1996

In article <4ep6nl$ej5 at bubba.NMSU.Edu>, kmarians at nmsu.edu says...
> I read an article in "Discover", Jan 1996, that related transsexual 
>behavior to the BSTc region of the brain.  Anyone know more?

Know for sure? No! But speculating is another story--written in book 
form, for starters: The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human 
Sexuality. From the neuroendocrine model detailed in this book, which was 
written for the layperson, one could posit that one link between the size 
of nuclei in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BnST) and sexual 
orientation is via olfaction. This, since the BnST is an olfactory 
processing structure, and the pathway from the social environment to 
behavior is gene-cell-tissue-organ-organ system. Mammalian pheromones are 
social environmental stimuli, which have been shown to activate this 
pathway (e.g., the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal system) and to 
influence reproductive sexual behavior. Given similarities both in 
mammalian physiology and in behavior, it seems likely that human 
pheromones may be involved in many aspects of human sexuality, including 
sexual orientation and transsexualism. But then again, perhaps one should 
not freely speculate using cross-species comparisons. Who knows? Best bet 
is to read the journal article that inspired the piece in Discover and to 
make your own cross-species comparisons at the 
genetic-neuronal-hormonal-behavioral levels.

Jim Kohl 
Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Author

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