An atypical study led by a group of researchers from Germany's Saarland University has found that Kisspeptin is the key molecule which drives both attraction to the opposite sex and sexual behaviours, an advance that can lead to treatment for patients with psychosexual disorders.
Earlier, similar other studies had made the brain hormone responsible for triggering puberty and controlling fertility. Scientists suggest that puberty, fertility, attraction and sex are all controlled by that single molecule named kisspeptin – but through different brain circuits running in parallel with one another.
The study has been conducted on mice and further show that a subset of neurons in the hypothalamus — a brain region — drives both attraction to the opposite sex and sexual behaviour.
Pheromones — a chemical substance produced and released by an animal — secreted by the male mouse activate these neurons which, in turn, transmit this signal to another population of neurons (gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons) to drive attraction to the opposite sex.
Simultaneously, they also transmit this signal to cells that produce the neurotransmitter nitric oxide to trigger sexual behaviour, the researchers said.
Talking about their latest findings Ulrich Boehm, Professor at the Saarland University said, “This work has provided new insight into how the brain decodes signals from the outside world and then translates these environmental cues into behaviour.”
This work opens up new and exciting possibilities for the treatment of patients with psychosexual disorders such as hyposexual desire disorder, Boehm added, in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
“There are currently no good treatments available for women suffering from low sexual desire. The discovery that kisspeptin controls both attraction and sexual desire opens up exciting new possibilities for the development of treatments for low sexual desire,” Julie Bakker, Professor at Liege University in Belgium stated.
(With inputs from IANS)