Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

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Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#1  Postby natselrox » Mar 23, 2011 7:31 pm

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notro ... Science%29

This is what happens when people with access to labs become attention-whores. :yuk:
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#2  Postby jim » Mar 24, 2011 2:26 pm

I just read about this on the bbc news website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12825688

My first reaction ill admit is a fairly strong one, and quite frankly its been bothering me.
Just what the fuck are they making gay mice for?
Using mice in a lab, fair enough I get that. But what is learned from this?
This is an honest question, I truly do not understand why we are doing this.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#3  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 25, 2011 7:48 am

jim wrote:I just read about this on the bbc news website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12825688

My first reaction ill admit is a fairly strong one, and quite frankly its been bothering me.
Just what the fuck are they making gay mice for?
Using mice in a lab, fair enough I get that. But what is learned from this?
This is an honest question, I truly do not understand why we are doing this.


If the aim of the experiment was to "create gay mice", then you might have a point. However, they weren't. Their research was to look at how serotonin affected sexual behavior of mammals (based on an extension of issues that anti-depressants have on people who take them). So the potential importance of this research is not fully known, but it's undeniably added to our body of knowledge on what biological factors contribute to sexual behavior.

@Nats: I agree with Ed Yong's skepticism about the specificity of the effect of serotonin on sexual behavior. Serotonin is linked rather intimately to learning and behavior in general, so I'd be interested in seeing how these mice respond to various other learning tasks. At the very least, I'd like to see stricter controls and more ingeniously designed experimental setups to make sure that it is the serotonin that is affecting the sexual behavior, as opposed to it being a more indirect cause.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#4  Postby natselrox » Mar 25, 2011 7:54 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:@Nats: I agree with Ed Yong's skepticism about the specificity of the effect of serotonin on sexual behavior. Serotonin is linked rather intimately to learning and behavior in general, so I'd be interested in seeing how these mice respond to various other learning tasks. At the very least, I'd like to see stricter controls and more ingeniously designed experimental setups to make sure that it is the serotonin that is affecting the sexual behavior, as opposed to it being a more indirect cause.


Absolutely, mate! If that's how you interpret your observation after creating mice deficient in the sixth-most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain, it's not cool.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#5  Postby cavarka9 » Mar 25, 2011 8:57 am

natselrox wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:@Nats: I agree with Ed Yong's skepticism about the specificity of the effect of serotonin on sexual behavior. Serotonin is linked rather intimately to learning and behavior in general, so I'd be interested in seeing how these mice respond to various other learning tasks. At the very least, I'd like to see stricter controls and more ingeniously designed experimental setups to make sure that it is the serotonin that is affecting the sexual behavior, as opposed to it being a more indirect cause.


Absolutely, mate! If that's how you interpret your observation after creating mice deficient in the sixth-most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain, it's not cool.

:popcorn: , there is a correlation. Now they would check to see if it is the cause, then we can all say good bye to freely will our orientation. :shock:
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#6  Postby jim » Mar 25, 2011 9:45 am

Nobody has "free will" when it comes to sexual orientation, it is not a conscious decision people make.

Plus... Taken from the article i already linked.

"There is some very limited evidence for altered responses to selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the brains of homosexuals, but we have been using psychoactive drugs which either increase or decrease serotonin function for quite some time now, and while effects on sexual arousal, impulsivity and aggression have often been reported, no effects on sexual preference/orientation have.

"At this time therefore any potential links between serotonin and human sexual preferences must be considered somewhat tenuous."
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#7  Postby cavarka9 » Mar 25, 2011 11:14 am

jim wrote:Nobody has "free will" when it comes to sexual orientation, it is not a conscious decision people make.

Plus... Taken from the article i already linked.

"There is some very limited evidence for altered responses to selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the brains of homosexuals, but we have been using psychoactive drugs which either increase or decrease serotonin function for quite some time now, and while effects on sexual arousal, impulsivity and aggression have often been reported, no effects on sexual preference/orientation have.

"At this time therefore any potential links between serotonin and human sexual preferences must be considered somewhat tenuous."

Dont remember exactly,but couple of years ago, I read an article stating that US has a chemical weapon which has a particular side effect of changing sexual orientation, supposed to have been considered as a weapon to screw up the military structure of the "enemies" during wars.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#8  Postby jim » Mar 25, 2011 11:27 am

LOL.
I think I recall something about tests or concepts for a "love bomb" a few years ago. ill try to track it down.

Edit. Heh, that wasnt hard.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4174519.stm
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_bomb


In both of the documents, the possibility was canvassed that a strong aphrodisiac
could be dropped on enemy troops, ideally one which would also cause
"homosexual behavior". The documents described the aphrodisiac weapon as
"distasteful but completely non-lethal".
The "New Discoveries Needed" section of one of the documents implicitly
acknowledges that no such chemicals are actually known.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#9  Postby cavarka9 » Mar 25, 2011 11:49 am

jim wrote:LOL.
I think I recall something about tests or concepts for a "love bomb" a few years ago. ill try to track it down.

Edit. Heh, that wasnt hard.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4174519.stm
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_bomb


In both of the documents, the possibility was canvassed that a strong aphrodisiac
could be dropped on enemy troops, ideally one which would also cause
"homosexual behavior". The documents described the aphrodisiac weapon as
"distasteful but completely non-lethal".
The "New Discoveries Needed" section of one of the documents implicitly
acknowledges that no such chemicals are actually known.


Yeah, I dont trust US of A. They had radar evading planes from the 60s. Most countries cannot even make proper passenger planes :roll: . 600 Billion dollars every year- I wonder what else they have :what:
Must have a super duper new planes, robot warriors, Prototype Iron Man suits - Using magnetism to permanently damage the moral centers of the brain to unleash rapists and serial killers in a very cheap and efficient manner to breakdown the opponents civil life. And much much more. Perhaps unleashing porn to decrease the work ethics of many asain countries to get the competitive advantage( trying to stop the new .xxx criteria). :lol:
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#10  Postby DanDare » Mar 25, 2011 12:01 pm

So what would be some better experiments to isolate the serotonin as a cause?
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#11  Postby Tyrannical » Mar 25, 2011 12:44 pm

What lucky lab worker is taking it in pill form to a bar for a little human testing.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#12  Postby Federico » Mar 25, 2011 3:12 pm

I hate it when people publish research material as if it were the discovery of the century when actually similar results had been obtained elsewhere at least 40 years before.
It indicates plagiarism or, at best, poor review of the literature.

In this thread the discussion is about the role of brain serotonin in mammals' sexual behavior. Well, it aint new, not a bit.
Have a look at this link:
Lack of copulatory behaviour in male castrated rats after p-chlorophenylalanine , by M.Del Fiacco et al, Institute of Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
In the Introduction to the article, published in 1974, it is written:

"p-Chlorophenylalanine (PCPA), a compound that inhibits the synthesis of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) rather selectively (Koe & Weissman, 1966), stimulates homo- and heterosexual mounting behaviour in male animals (Sheard, 1969; Tagliamonte,Tagliamonte, Gessa & Brodie, 1969; Shillito, 1970; Ferguson, Henriksen, Cohen, Mitchell, Barchas & Dement, 1970; Hoyland, Shillito & Vogt, 1970). However, we have observed that PCPA fails to cause male to male
mounting behaviour in castrated rats, but this effect is restored and greatly potentiated by testosterone (Gessa, Tagliamonte, Tagliamonte & Brodie, 1970)"
.
Which indicates that a lot of research had already been done on serotonin and sexual behavior.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#13  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 26, 2011 3:08 am

DanDare wrote:So what would be some better experiments to isolate the serotonin as a cause?


It's hard to say at this point since the research is fairly fresh - we'd need to look at replicating it and expanding on it to get a better idea of what's going on. But to isolate serotonin as a cause it would help to run some behavioral experiments to see how these serotonin-altered mice respond to various other tasks.

For example, we could suppose that serotonin did not make the males more attractive, or even increase their sexual arousal, and instead it simply affected their ability to discriminate between males and females. To test this we could run a basic discrimination task to see if this more global process is what is being affected, and thus what is causing the change in sexual preference.

It's also possible that there isn't actually a change in sexual preference, but instead an effect on something like self-control; as such, we could then test them to see if their discounting functions are any different from a normal population of controls. If they are different, then it's much harder for us to conclude that serotonin is the cause since an organism's inability to control its sexual arousal will obviously result in some "homosexual" acts (especially when the organism shows some preference for males in standard conditions anyway).
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#14  Postby Federico » Mar 28, 2011 2:40 pm

Mr. Samsa,
I must say I'm really surprised that a clever and well read person like you failed to detect the huge and unpardonable error of not quoting the pioneer work of Bernard Brodie on the role of serotonin on brain workings and particularly -- in collaboration with
G.L.Gessa -- on sex preference. Errare humanum est.

Wikipedia

"Bernard Beryl Brodie (1907 – 1989), a leading researcher on drug therapy, is considered by many to be the founder of modern pharmacology and brought the field to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s. He was a major figure in the field of drug metabolism, the study of how drugs interact in the body and how they are absorbed. A member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Brodie was a founder and former chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology at the National Heart Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland."
PS His Alma Mater was McGill U.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#15  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 29, 2011 12:27 am

Federico wrote:Mr. Samsa,
I must say I'm really surprised that a clever and well read person like you failed to detect the huge and unpardonable error of not quoting the pioneer work of Bernard Brodie on the role of serotonin on brain workings and particularly -- in collaboration with
G.L.Gessa -- on sex preference. Errare humanum est.

Wikipedia

"Bernard Beryl Brodie (1907 – 1989), a leading researcher on drug therapy, is considered by many to be the founder of modern pharmacology and brought the field to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s. He was a major figure in the field of drug metabolism, the study of how drugs interact in the body and how they are absorbed. A member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Brodie was a founder and former chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology at the National Heart Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland."
PS His Alma Mater was McGill U.


Well you sure showed me. That is known as a "burn".

A few niggles I have with your argument though:

1) Despite my cleverness and well-readness, I'm not actually expected to have read every single article that has ever been written.

2) You haven't specified which paper by Brodie and Gessa that you thought was important. I'm sure that between the two of them they've written a handful of papers, many of which are to do with the effects of serotonin on the brain.

3) Just because an author writes on a similar topic (i.e. serotonin and sexual behavior) does not mean that their research is necessarily important to the work at hand. For example, in the paper in the OP, the introduction of serotonin to the brain (like the paper you presented) is only tangentially related, hence why the discussion of such research only earned itself half a paragraph in the introduction.

4) When we read the paragraph that mentions research in this area, we find that instead of mentioning the "seminal" research that you linked to, they instead cited the actual seminal research on the topic - that is, they cited the original research which preceded the work of Fiacco, Brodie and Gessa. Specifically: Ferguson, J. et al. “Hypersexuality” and behavioral changes in cats caused by administration of p-chlorophenylalanine. Science 168, 499–501 (1970), and Malmnäs, C. & Meyerson, B. p-Chlorophenylalanine and copulatory behaviour in the male rat. Nature 232, 398–400 (1971).

5) Since the effects of introducing serotonin to the brain and observing effects on sexual behavior was only a minor point, these two papers would have sufficed to make their point, but they also included a third reference; Salis, P. & Dewsbury, D. p-Chlorophenylalanine facilitates copulatory behaviour in male rats. Nature 232, 400–401 (1971), which cites nearly every relevant paper ever written by Gessa, Tegliamonte, and Brodie.

6) The Del Fiacco paper you linked to has only been cited 11 times since 1974. It's such a minor paper that a peer reviewer would probably ask people to remove references to it, especially when making such a tangential point.

Summary: I think you've misunderstood the aim of the experiment in the OP, and you've done a poor review of the literature by failing to correctly identify the seminal work in the area you thought you were researching.
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#16  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Mar 29, 2011 1:05 am

natselrox wrote:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/03/23/low-serotonin-mice-less-choosy-about-sex-of-partners/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NotRocketScience+%28Not+Exactly+Rocket+Science%29

This is what happens when people with access to labs become attention-whores. :yuk:

It's hiding behind a paywall, so it is obviously fucking woo. :evilgrin:
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#17  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 29, 2011 1:13 am

Darwinsbulldog wrote:
natselrox wrote:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/03/23/low-serotonin-mice-less-choosy-about-sex-of-partners/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NotRocketScience+%28Not+Exactly+Rocket+Science%29

This is what happens when people with access to labs become attention-whores. :yuk:

It's hiding behind a paywall, so it is obviously fucking woo. :evilgrin:


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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#18  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Mar 29, 2011 4:40 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
Darwinsbulldog wrote:
natselrox wrote:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/03/23/low-serotonin-mice-less-choosy-about-sex-of-partners/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NotRocketScience+%28Not+Exactly+Rocket+Science%29

This is what happens when people with access to labs become attention-whores. :yuk:

It's hiding behind a paywall, so it is obviously fucking woo. :evilgrin:


Where there's a will, there's a way. Break down that wall!

Nope, I refuse! PLOS is the one true god! :) :) :) [Thanks for your e-mail!]

Besides, I got distracted by the interesting discussion about Nowak's challenge to Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness in Nature. :)
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#19  Postby Federico » Mar 29, 2011 3:16 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
A few niggles I have with your argument though:

1) Despite my cleverness and well-readness, I'm not actually expected to have read every single article that has ever been written.

2) You haven't specified which paper by Brodie and Gessa that you thought was important. I'm sure that between the two of them they've written a handful of papers, many of which are to do with the effects of serotonin on the brain.

3) Just because an author writes on a similar topic (i.e. serotonin and sexual behavior) does not mean that their research is necessarily important to the work at hand. For example, in the paper in the OP, the introduction of serotonin to the brain (like the paper you presented) is only tangentially related, hence why the discussion of such research only earned itself half a paragraph in the introduction.

4) When we read the paragraph that mentions research in this area, we find that instead of mentioning the "seminal" research that you linked to, they instead cited the actual seminal research on the topic - that is, they cited the original research which preceded the work of Fiacco, Brodie and Gessa. Specifically: Ferguson, J. et al. “Hypersexuality” and behavioral changes in cats caused by administration of p-chlorophenylalanine. Science 168, 499–501 (1970), and Malmnäs, C. & Meyerson, B. p-Chlorophenylalanine and copulatory behaviour in the male rat. Nature 232, 398–400 (1971).

5) Since the effects of introducing serotonin to the brain and observing effects on sexual behavior was only a minor point, these two papers would have sufficed to make their point, but they also included a third reference; Salis, P. & Dewsbury, D. p-Chlorophenylalanine facilitates copulatory behaviour in male rats. Nature 232, 400–401 (1971), which cites nearly every relevant paper ever written by Gessa, Tegliamonte, and Brodie.

6) The Del Fiacco paper you linked to has only been cited 11 times since 1974. It's such a minor paper that a peer reviewer would probably ask people to remove references to it, especially when making such a tangential point.

Summary: I think you've misunderstood the aim of the experiment in the OP, and you've done a poor review of the literature by failing to correctly identify the seminal work in the area you thought you were researching.


Mr.Samsa,
To my eternal damnation, I have to admit you are a Master of Debunking. Actually -- as I have written in a previous post -- had you been given the opportunity to meet Einstein you would have debunked his fuzzy Theory of Relativity. ;)
But, in any case, I will try and answer your criticism point by point.

1) Right: only the more important.
2) Yes, I did mention the paper in Science, 1969, but since it was inaccessible, I had to cite the one written in 1974.
3) The actual annoying part is the assertion by the Chinese researchers of their work being the first one to demonstrate the role of serotonin on mammalians' sexual behavior: which is obviously untrue.
4) No comment.
5) No comment.
6) I have answered at point 2 my reasons for citing the 1974 paper.
Summary. It's your opinion which, of course, I respect but don't accept.

Back on scientific ground, I will say that, IMHO, serotonin has no role to play in sexual preferences in mammalians, man included. The indiscriminate and frenzied copulatory behavior of serotonin-depleted male animals could be due to an "aphrodisiac" effect of suppressing a sex inhibitor. In other words, the mirror image of what happens when you increase brain serotonin levels by administering a SRI such as fluoxetin to humans, i.e., no orgasm, no or delayed ejaculation.

Amusingly, in an article for the Los Angeles Times and entitled "The enduring myth of Aphrodisiacs ," Joann Rodgers writes:

"...evidence of aphrodisiac effects lacks scientific credibility. It is largely, if not wholly, anecdotal, inferential, spotty and unconfirmed.
A few years ago, for example, experiments by Gian Luigi Jessa (sic), a pharmacologist in Sardinia, created something of a sensation with reports that a diet free of tryptophan, a nutrient found in milk, cheese and other dairy products, caused lab animals to become oversexed, apparently by depleting them of serotonin, a brain chemical important in mental activity.
But no similar results have been reported in human or additional animal studies. And it's not even clear that such experiments have been done."
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Re: Low serotonin mice less choosy about partner's sex

#20  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 29, 2011 10:06 pm

Federico wrote:Mr.Samsa,
To my eternal damnation, I have to admit you are a Master of Debunking. Actually -- as I have written in a previous post -- had you been given the opportunity to meet Einstein you would have debunked his fuzzy Theory of Relativity. ;)


If Einstein based his ideas on faulty logic and speculation, then you might have a point :tongue:

Federico wrote:But, in any case, I will try and answer your criticism point by point.

1) Right: only the more important.
2) Yes, I did mention the paper in Science, 1969, but since it was inaccessible, I had to cite the one written in 1974.


:lol: No, you didn't mention the 1969 paper. The 1969 paper was included in the abstract that you quoted (along with various other citations).

Federico wrote:3) The actual annoying part is the assertion by the Chinese researchers of their work being the first one to demonstrate the role of serotonin on mammalians' sexual behavior: which is obviously untrue.
4) No comment.
5) No comment.
6) I have answered at point 2 my reasons for citing the 1974 paper.
Summary. It's your opinion which, of course, I respect but don't accept.


I see no evidence of the researchers claiming that they were the first to demonstrate the role of serotonin on sexual behavior? And in fact, the first couple of paragraphs in the article are dedicated to discussing the previous research in this area which has demonstrated that. What they did suggest they did was that they created a better model for analysing the effects of serotonin on sexual behavior, and they claim that they have demonstrated a link between serotonin and sexual preference (i.e. they were trying to distinguish between indiscriminate mating, and preference for males - which no other study has attempted).

Federico wrote:Back on scientific ground, I will say that, IMHO, serotonin has no role to play in sexual preferences in mammalians, man included. The indiscriminate and frenzied copulatory behavior of serotonin-depleted male animals could be due to an "aphrodisiac" effect of suppressing a sex inhibitor. In other words, the mirror image of what happens when you increase brain serotonin levels by administering a SRI such as fluoxetin to humans, i.e., no orgasm, no or delayed ejaculation.


I don't know about "no role to play in sexual preferences", as serotonin is important for a number of processes, including learning, so it likely has some role. However, I agree that its effects probably aren't as direct as these researchers are suggesting and I don't think this study has shown that serotonin has an effect on sexual preference.
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