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Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2018

Female sexual behavior in mice is controlled by kisspeptin neurons

Vincent Hellier
  • Function : Author
Olivier Brock
  • Function : Author
Michael Candlish
  • Function : Author
Mari Aoki
  • Function : Author
Christian Mayer
Richard Piet
  • Function : Author
Allan Herbison
William Henry Colledge
  • Function : Author
Vincent Prévot
  • Function : Author
Ulrich Boehm
  • Function : Author
Julie Bakker
  • Function : Author


Abstract Sexual behavior is essential for the survival of many species. In female rodents, mate preference and copulatory behavior depend on pheromones and are synchronized with ovulation to ensure reproductive success. The neural circuits driving this orchestration in the brain have, however, remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that neurons controlling ovulation in the mammalian brain are at the core of a branching neural circuit governing both mate preference and copulatory behavior. We show that male odors detected in the vomeronasal organ activate kisspeptin neurons in female mice. Classical kisspeptin/Kiss1R signaling subsequently triggers olfactory-driven mate preference. In contrast, copulatory behavior is elicited by kisspeptin neurons in a parallel circuit independent of Kiss1R involving nitric oxide signaling. Consistent with this, we find that kisspeptin neurons impinge onto nitric oxide-synthesizing neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus. Our data establish kisspeptin neurons as a central regulatory hub orchestrating sexual behavior in the female mouse brain.

Dates and versions

hal-03947932 , version 1 (19-01-2023)



Vincent Hellier, Olivier Brock, Michael Candlish, Elodie Desroziers, Mari Aoki, et al.. Female sexual behavior in mice is controlled by kisspeptin neurons. Nature Communications, 2018, 9 (1), pp.400. ⟨10.1038/s41467-017-02797-2⟩. ⟨hal-03947932⟩


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