Is there a gender difference of somatostatin-receptor density in the human brain?

: Animal experiments and observations in human brains have convincingly shown that sexual differentiation not only concerns the genitalia but also the brain. This has been investigated also in the light of a possible explanation of a presumed biological aetiology of transsexuality. The volume of the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, a brain area that is essential for sexual behaviour, has been reported to be larger in men than in women. Additionally, the number of somatostatin expressing neurons in this region was shown to be higher in men than in women. As neuronal production of somatostatin is involved the idea is striking whether somatostatin-receptor density in the cortex of cerebral hemispheres might be related to gender identity. We investigated in vivo the density of somatostatin-receptors in selected regions of the human brain in both sexes by means of receptor scintigraphy. Basal ganglia tracer uptake of 111-In-Pentreotide was equally low in both genders at 0,80% +/ 0,26 (related to tracer uptake of the whole brain layer). Temporal cortex accumulated at 2,9% +/ 1,1 in men and at 2,3% +/ 0,76 in women. Frontal brain region had an uptake of 3,0% +/ 1,4 in male and of 2,5% +/ 1,3 in female. This shows a tendency in males for relatively augmented uptake indicating higher somatostatin receptor density in temporal and frontal cerebral cortex.

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