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The androgenic effect of norethisterone and 5α-norethisterone on the contractile response of the rat vas deferens to methoxamine and serotonin

Life Sciences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0024-3205(99)00132-0
  • Norethisterone
  • Vas Deferens
  • Serotonin
  • Methoxamine


Abstract Norethisterone (NET) and its metabolite 5α-norethisterone (5α-NET) are competitors for the androgen receptor. The sensitivity of the rat vas deferens to the contractile action of methoxamine and serotonin is regulated by hormonal and anatomical factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of NET and 5α-NET to induce the androgen-regulated contractile response to methoxamine and serotonin in the epididymal and prostatic portions of rat vas deferens. Adult male rats either intact, castrated or steroid-treated castrated were used. The contractility was recorded isometrically, and non-cumulative concentration-response curves to either methoxamine or serotonin were obtained. NET and 5α-NET partially restored the sensitivity to methoxamine and serotonin in the epididymal portion of castrated rats. The maximal responses to both agonists were significantly higher than those observed in castrated rats, and significantly lower than the responses observed in either intact or androgen-treated castrated rats. The prostatic portion was less responsive to both agonists than the epididymal portion, in all groups but castrated rats, as castration induced sensitivity to both agonists. NET and 5α-NET displayed a partial though similar androgenic activity in the rat vas deferens. These results contrast with previous reports where a decrease of androgenic effect due to the 5α-reduction of NET has been found.

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