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Kisspeptin enhances brain responses to olfactory and visual cues of attraction in men

  • Yang, L
  • Demetriou, L
  • Wall, M
  • Mills, E
  • Zargaran, D
  • Sykes, M
  • Prague, J
  • Abbara, A
  • Owen, B
  • Bassett, P
  • Rabiner, E
  • Comninos, A
  • Dhillo, W
Publication Date
Dec 10, 2019
UPCommons. Portal del coneixement obert de la UPC


Successful reproduction is a fundamental physiological process which relies on the integration of sensory cues of attraction with appropriate emotions and behaviors and the reproductive axis. However, the factors responsible for this integration remain largely unexplored. Using functional neuroimaging, hormonal and psychometric analyses, we demonstrate that the reproductive hormone kisspeptin enhances brain activity in response to olfactory and visual cues of attraction in men. Furthermore, the brain regions enhanced by kisspeptin correspond to areas within the olfactory and limbic systems that govern sexual behavior and perception of beauty as well as overlapping with its endogenous expression pattern. Of key functional and behavioral significance, we observed that kisspeptin was most effective in men with lower sexual quality of life scores. As such, our results reveal a previously undescribed attraction pathway in humans activated by kisspeptin, and identify kisspeptin signaling as a new therapeutic target for related reproductive and psychosexual disorders.

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