Sexual behavior in male rodents

  • Hull E
  • Dominguez J
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Abstract

The hormonal factors and neural circuitry that control copulation are similar across rodent species, although there are differences in specific behavior patterns. Both estradiol (E) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) contribute to the activation of mating, although E is more important for copulation and DHT for genital reflexes. Hormonal activation of the medial preoptic area (MPOA) is most effective, although implants in the medial amygdala (MeA) can also stimulate mounting in castrates. Chemosensory inputs from the main and accessory olfactory systems are the most important stimuli for mating in rodents, especially in hamsters, although genitosensory input also contributes. Dopamine agonists facilitate sexual behavior, and serotonin (5-HT) is generally inhibitory, though certain 5-HT receptor subtypes facilitate erection or ejaculation. Norepinephrine agonists and opiates have dose-dependent effects, with low doses facilitating and high doses inhibiting behavior.

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Authors

  • Elaine M. Hull

  • Juan M. Dominguez

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