Scientists have researched aromatase for a long time. However, they have not fully understood how this enzyme functions in our brain.
In a recent study published in the Endocrinology journal, a group of scientists at the Frederick National Lab For Cancer Research, Maryland, and Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois provided more information about it.
Aromatase is responsible for transforming testosterone, the main element that triggers sexual activity in men, into a form of estrogen called estradiol.
Estrogens have been proved to be necessary for the regulation of reproductive function in both men and women. Also, they play a key role in organizational and functional tasks in adult behavior and brain development.
To find out whether aromatase in the brain is important for sexual desires in men, scientists implemented a study in mice without aromatase in their brain.
The results showed that sexual desires were decreased by around 50 percent. This drop happened even when significantly higher testosterone levels are present in the blood. Mice without aromatase did not show any sexual desires.
The study author states that a lack of aromatase would result in a partial loss of sexual activity in male mice. Moreover, this substance is essential for producing estrogen, which has functions in both females and males. In fact, sexual drive in men requires the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
The findings indicate that sexual behavior might be changed by enhancing or inhibiting the activity of the aromatase enzyme in the brain. This conclusion would possibly allow for new treatments of issues with sexual desire.
It is possible to target aromatase with medications to regulate sexual drive in men.
For instance, a common problem is low sexual desire. This condition can be a side effect of some medications, including SSRIs.
Scientists believe that a treatment option aimed at increasing aromatase levels would improve sexual derive in people with this side effect.
On the other hand, compulsive sexual desire or hyper sexuality disorder would be treated with an aromatase inhibitor. Nevertheless, osteoporosis can be a possible side effect. This is a form of bone disease that causes bones to become weak and break over time.
The authors of the study hope that the findings would aid in the development of new medications that would only inhibit the brain area promoting aromatase.
If this can be achieved, the drugs will not trigger some of the side effects reported in current aromatase inhibitors.