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Behav. Sci. 2012, 2(3), 195-206; doi:10.3390/bs2030195
Article

Adrenal Steroids Uniquely Influence Sexual Motivation Behavior in Male Rats

1
,
1,2,*  and 1,2
1 Behavioral Neuroscience Group, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA 2 Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, Box 8134, 660 S. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 July 2012 / Revised: 11 August 2012 / Accepted: 21 August 2012 / Published: 31 August 2012
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Abstract

The androgenic adrenal steroids dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and 4α-androstenedione (4-A) have significant biological activity, but it is unclear if the behavioral effects are unique or only reflections of the effects of testosterone (TS). Gonadally intact male Long-Evans rats were assigned to groups to receive supplements of DHEA, 4-A, TS, corticosteroid (CORT), all at 400 µg steroid/kg of body weight, or vehicle only for 5 weeks. All males were tested in a paradigm for sexual motivation that measures time and urinary marks near an inaccessible receptive female. It was found that DHEA and 4-A supplements failed to influence time near the estrous female in the same way TS supplements did, and, indeed, 5 weeks of 4-A administration reduced the time similar to the suppressive effects of CORT after 3 weeks. Further, animals treated with DHEA or 4-A left fewer urinary marks near an estrous female than TS and control groups. These results suggest that DHEA and 4-A are not merely precursors of sex hormones, and provide support for these steroids influencing the brain and behavior in a unique fashion that is dissimilar from the effects of TS on male sexual behavior.
Keywords: DHEA; androstenedione; corticosteroids; motivation; mechanisms DHEA; androstenedione; corticosteroids; motivation; mechanisms
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Taylor, G.T.; Dearborn, J.T.; Maloney, S.E. Adrenal Steroids Uniquely Influence Sexual Motivation Behavior in Male Rats. Behav. Sci. 2012, 2, 195-206.

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