Sexual behavior patterns in the prepubertally castrate rat


  • Supported by grant GB-914 from the National Science Foundation.


Prepubertally castrate female rats are capable of showing the lordosis response when given replacement therapy with female sex steroids, regardeless of age at which the ovaries are removed post birth, or when replacement therapy is commenced after adulthood. Estrogen alone is reraly a sufficient stimulus for behavioral estrus. Therefore the natural physiological trigger for estrous behavior in the rat is likely estrogen plus progesterone. Prepubertally castrate male or female rats never showed any male or female behavior following androgen implant in the brain. All rats castrated on day three or ealier, and given implants of estrogen plus progesterone in the preoptic hypothalamic area displayed the lordosis response. Thus the female sex response pattern is present in both sexes in the absence of gonadal hormones from birth. Brain development in the male castrate at birth does not appear to be identical to brain development in the female castrate at birth because a number of males showed the complete male sexual response pattern plus the female response pattern following neural implant of estrogen plus progesteron. The genotypic male thus appears to possess the information necessary to produce the neural connections for male and female sexual response patterns. Androgen acting at birth disrupts the development of the feminine response pattern so that the adult male ordinarily displays only the copulatory pattern.