Steroids may rapidly alter neuronal function and behavior through poorly characterized, direct actions on neuronal membranes. The membrane-bound receptors mediating these behavioral responses have not been identified. [ 3H]Corticosterone labels a population of specific, high-affinity recognition sites (dissociation constant = 0.51 nanomolar) in synaptic membranes from an amphibian brain. These binding sites were localized by receptor autoradiography in the neuropil, outside the regions of perikarya. The affinities ofcorticoids for this [3H]corticosterone binding site were linearly related to their potencies in rapidly suppressing male reproductive behavior. Thus, it appears that brain membranes contain a corticosteroid receptor that could participate in the regulation of behavior.
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