Inheritance of steroid-independent male sexual behavior in male offspring of B6D2F1 mice

Christine M. McInnis, Paul J. Bonthuis, Emilie F. Rissman, Jin Ho Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of gonadal steroids in modulating male sexual behavior is well established. Individual differences in male sexual behavior, independent of gonadal steroids, are prevalent across a wide range of species, including man. However, the genetic mechanisms underlying steroid-independent male sexual behavior are poorly understood. A high proportion of B6D2F1 hybrid male mice demonstrates steroid-independent male sexual behavior (identified as "maters"), providing a mouse model that opens up avenues of investigation into the mechanisms regulating male sexual behavior in the absence of gonadal hormones. Recent studies have revealed several proteins that play a significant factor in regulating steroid-independent male sexual behavior in B6D2F1 male mice, including amyloid precursor protein (APP), tau, and synaptophysin. The specific goals of our study were to determine whether steroid-independent male sexual behavior was a heritable trait by determining if it was dependent upon the behavioral phenotype of the B6D2F1 sire, and whether the differential expression of APP, tau, and synaptophysin in the medial preoptic area found in the B6D2F1 sires that did and did not mate after gonadectomy was similar to those found in their male offspring. After adult B6D2F1 male mice were bred with C57BL/6J female mice, they and their male offspring (BXB1) were orchidectomized and identified as either maters or "non-maters". A significant proportion of the BXB1 maters was sired only from B6D2F1 maters, indicating that the steroid-independent male sexual behavior behavioral phenotype of the B6D2F1 hybrid males, when crossed with C57BL/6J female mice, is inherited by their male offspring. Additionally, APP, tau, and synaptophysin were elevated in in the medial preoptic area in both the B6D2F1 and BXB1 maters relative to the B6D2F1 and BXB1 non-maters, respectively, suggesting a potential genetic mechanism for the inheritance of steroid-independent male sexual behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
JournalHormones and Behavior
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • APP
  • B6D2F1 mouse
  • Behavioral genetics
  • Steroid-independent male sexual behavior
  • Synaptophysin
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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