• Sexual Behavior;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Erection;
  • Seizure;
  • Pilocarpine;
  • Erectile Dysfunction;
  • Animal Models of Impaired Sexual Function


Introduction.  Epilepsy is a chronic disease that affects men and women of all ages, with different levels of severity. Many individuals with epilepsy also suffer from impairments in sexual function. However, it is difficult to differentiate between the impact of the disease and the impact of antiepileptic drugs on sexual function in human subjects.

Aims.  To evaluate sexual behavior in adult male rats submitted to chronic pilocarpine-induced epilepsy.

Methods.  First, non-epileptic rats were exposed to nine training sessions to acquire sexual experience, and their baseline sexual performance was evaluated. Then, the same rats were given pilocarpine to induce status epilepticus followed by chronic epilepsy. Once the animals had developed spontaneous recurrent seizures, their sexual behavior was evaluated during three sessions.

Main Outcome Measures.  Examine changes in latencies to first mount, intromission, and ejaculation, and the total number of mounts, intromissions, and ejaculations.

Results.  All outcome measures related to sexual motivation and sexual performance were markedly impaired during chronic epilepsy compared with the baseline and the control group.

Conclusion.  These findings will aid in understanding the interaction between sexual behavior and epilepsy, as well as encouraging further experimental studies in human patients with epilepsy suffering from sexual dysfunction. Andersen ML, Alvarenga TA, Scorza FA, Matos G, Sonoda EY, Hirotsu C, Cavalheiro EA, and Tufik S. Impairment of sexual function in rats with epilepsy. J Sex Med 2012;9:2266–2272.