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How might behaviors affect hormones? The birdsong example demonstrates how hormones can affect behavior, but as noted, the reciprocal relation also occurs; that is, behavior can affect hormone concentrations. For example, the sight of a territorial intruder may elevate blood testosterone concentrations in resident male birds and thereby stimulate singing or fighting behavior. Similarly, male mice or rhesus monkeys that lose a fight decrease circulating testosterone concentrations for several days or even weeks afterward. Comparable results have also been reported in humans. Testosterone concentrations are affected not only in humans involved in physical combat, but also in those involved in simulated battles. For example, testosterone concentrations were elevated in winners and reduced in losers of regional chess tournaments.
One major use of the potential energy created by separating protons from electrons across membranes is to drive the synthesis of ATP. ATP then powers other metabolic processes, such as the formation of glucose (the major product of photosynthesis), or the transport of solutes discussed in the preceding section. In addition, the membrane potential can itself be directly coupled to pumping certain solutes against their concentration gradient (active transport). In those cases, the downhill diffusion of protons across the membrane provides the energy to pump other solutes uphill. (Picture a paddle wheel that taps a mountain stream for energy to grind grain.) Such membrane potentials also propel bacterial swimming by powering the rotation of their propellerlike flagella. Membrane potential energy is thus a currency as universal as ATP or glucose.