The place where male sexual desire lives was discovered by scientists from Northwestern University School of Medicine in a specific area of the brain. Impact on it can strengthen or weaken the sex drive of the stronger sex.
“This is the first discovery to explain how testosterone stimulates sexual desire,” said lead author Dr. Serdar Bulun, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
According to scientists, the gene encoding an enzyme called aromatase regulates sexual behavior in men, converting testosterone into estrogen. Accordingly, drugs can either enhance the function of this gene with low sexual desire, or reduce its function with obsessive sex drive.
How aromatase works in the adult brain was not previously known.
“We have conclusively demonstrated for the first time that the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the brain is critical to maintaining sexual activity or desire in men. Aromatase is orchestrating this process,” Bulun said.
The study was carried out in mice. When the scientists selectively turned off aromatase in the rodent brains, male sexual activity was reduced by 50%. And this despite the fact that they had high levels of testosterone in the blood (compared to the control group of males).
Scientists explain that if a normal male mouse is placed in the same cage with a female, he will chase her and try to have sex with her. Experiments have shown that if the gene responsible for the production of aromatase is “turned off” in the brain of a rodent, its sexual activity is significantly reduced, and the frequency of mating also decreases.
“Male mice are not very interested in this,” Bulun said.
“Male mice are losing some of their interest in sex,” adds another author, Dr. Hong Zhao. “Aromatase is a key enzyme needed to make estrogen.”
We used to think that estrogen is a female hormone. However, it also performs certain functions in the body of men. To stimulate sexual desire in men, testosterone must be converted to estrogen.
According to scientists, this important discovery reveals the role of aromatase in this process, can contribute to the creation of new treatments. Sex drive disorder is a problem for millions of men around the world. All of them could be helped by targeting the corresponding gene in the tissues of the brain.
At the same time, new selective drugs that will only affect the desired area of the brain will not cause the side effects that currently exist aromatase inhibitors.