Mike Ludwig added that research in many centers has made it "apparent that hypothalamic neurons employ a vast diversity of chemical signals to communicate information, including more than 60 peptides. Many of these peptides, when released within the brain, trigger coherent, specific, complex behaviors, including sexual and social behaviors. Increasingly we are recognizing that peptide signals play a key role in information processing that is quite unlike the role played by conventional neurotransmitters."
Ludwig and Leng are scheduled to speak at the American Physiological Society's 2005 Conference, "Neurohypophyseal Hormones: From Genomics and Physiology to Disease," plus the latest developments toward clinical applications in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Leng and Ludwig also are scheduled to participate July 19 in the symposium, "Central release and actions of NH hormones," chaired by Quentin Pittman, University of Calgary, and Larry Young, Emory University School of Medicine.
"Melanocortin and oxytocin in facilitated sexual responses." Gareth Leng, Celine Caquineau, Nancy Sabatier, Alison Douglas, University of Edinburgh.
Leng described the now-accepted notion that "release of oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain occurs from dendrites, which are conventionally thought to be structures that receive information rather than transmit information."
Alpha-MSH: key role in sex drive and an OT site switch
For instance, Leng described how alpha-MSH, another peptide neurohormone, can stimulate oxytocin (OT) release from dendrites while blocking "normal" OT release