Dopaminergic control of male sex behavior in rats: Effects of an intracerebrally-infused agonist

Elaine M. Hull, Daniel Bitran, Elizabeth A. Pehek, Robert K. Warner, Linda C. Band, Gregory M. Holmes

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Systemically-administered dopaminergic drugs have been found to facilitate sexual behavior of men and male rats. The present experiments investigated the localization within the brain of dopaminergic effects on copulation of male rats. Apomorphine, a dopamine agonist, was microinfused into the medial preoptic area, caudate-putamen, nucleus accumbens, lateral septum and lateral ventricle. The lowest dose of apomorphine (0.2 μg) infused into the ventricle reduced the number of ejaculations, slowed the rate of intromitting and decreased the percentage of mounts on which the male gained vaginal intromission. The higher two doses (0.5 and 2.0 μg) infused into the medial preoptic area and, in some cases, the ventricle, increased the number of ejaculations and the percentage of mounts with vaginal intromission, increased the rate of intromitting and decreased the latency to ejaculate and the postejaculatory interval before resuming copulation. Infusions into the caudate-putamen and lateral septum were without effect. Those into nucleus accumbens produced only a slight dose-related decrease in latency to begin copulating. The copulatory impairments associated with infusions of the lowest dose into the ventricle may have resulted from stimulation of autoreceptors, or from preferential stimulation by low doses of an undetermined area. The facilitative effects of the two higher doses into the medial preoptic area and lateral ventricle may have been due to stimulation of dopaminergic postsynaptic receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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