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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Neuroscience & Behavior

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The medial amygdala (MeA) is a central node in the interwoven circuits that regulate social behavior based on pheromones. Aromatase-expressing (arom+) neurons in the MeA are key for the establishment and maintenance of sex differences. Here, we characterized the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of arom+ neurons and non-aromatase (arom-) neurons in the MeA of male and female mice. Most electrophysiological properties were similar for arom+ neurons in the MeA between sexes, but the relative refractory period was twice as large in female mice. We also show that the firing pattern and firing frequency is markedly different between arom+ and arom- neurons. The activity of MeA neurons could be modulated by estradiol, which reduced activity in arom+ neurons in males. The differences between arom+ and arom- neurons were observed in both sexes suggesting that aromatase expression delineates a neural population in the MeA with similar and unique electrophysiological properties.


First Advisor

Joseph Bergan

Second Advisor

Geng-Lin Li

Third Advisor

Luke Remage-Healey