Effects of ovarian hormones on the behavior of captive Macaca fascicularis

Authors

  • Doris Zumpe,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and The Georgia Mental Health Institute, Atlanta
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  • Dr. Richard P. Michael

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and The Georgia Mental Health Institute, Atlanta
    • Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Post Office Box AF, Atlanta, GA 30322
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Abstract

To examine the effects of ovarian hormones on the behavior of female Macaca fascicularis and their male partners, daily 1-hr behavior tests were conducted while ovariectomized females were (1) untreated, (2) given estradiol benzoate (EB) (5 μg subcutaneously [s.c.]/day), (3) given estradiol benzoate together with increasing doses of progesterone (P) (5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg. s.c./day), and (4) given testosterone propionate (TP) (0.25 mg s.c./day) (six pairs, 540 tests). Weekly blood samples were analyzed by radioimmunoassay for plasma hormone levels (81 samples). Estrogen treatment produced plasma estradiol levels similar to those of intact females during the late follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Additional progesterone at the lowest dose produced plasma progesterone levels similar to or somewhat higher than those during the midluteal phase, while higher doses produced supraphysiological levels. Androgen treatment resulted in plasma levels well above the physiological range. Hormone treatments produced highly significant effects on the sexual, social, and aggressive interactions of the pairs. As in rhesus monkeys, estrogen increased male and female sexual activity, and increasing doses of additional progesterone reversed these effects. Unlike in rhesus monkeys, testosterone propionate increased both female sexual motivation (invitations) and also male sexual activity and ejaculatory performance. The direction of the hormone-dependent changes in grooming and aggressive interactions confirmed earlier results with intact females and indicated that aggressive interactions and male grooming times were highest, and female grooming times were lowest, when copulatory activity was at its height.

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