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The non-aromatizable androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) facilitates sexual behavior in ovariectomized female rats primed with estradiol.

Authors
  • Maseroli, Elisa1
  • Santangelo, Andrea2
  • Lara-Fontes, Beatriz3
  • Quintana, Gonzalo Renato4
  • Mac Cionnaith, Conall E4
  • Casarrubea, Maurizio5
  • Ricca, Valdo6
  • Maggi, Mario7
  • Vignozzi, Linda8
  • Pfaus, James G3
  • 1 Andrology, Women's Endocrinology and Gender Incongruence Unit, Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences "Mario Serio", University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, Florence 50139, Italy; Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montréal, QC H4B 1R6 Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Psychiatry Unit, Department of Health Sciences. University of Florence, Italy; Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics (Bi.N.D.). Human Physiology Section "Giuseppe Pagano", Corso Tukory 129, Palermo 90134, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 3 Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montréal, QC H4B 1R6 Canada; Centro De Investigaciones Cerebrales, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, VER 91193, Mexico. , (Canada)
  • 4 Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montréal, QC H4B 1R6 Canada. , (Canada)
  • 5 Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics (Bi.N.D.). Human Physiology Section "Giuseppe Pagano", Corso Tukory 129, Palermo 90134, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 6 Psychiatry Unit, Department of Health Sciences. University of Florence, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 7 Endocrinology Unit, Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences "Mario Serio", University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, Florence 50139, Italy; I.N.B.B., Biostructures and Biosystems National Institute, Viale Delle Medaglie d'Oro 305, Rome 00136, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 8 Andrology, Women's Endocrinology and Gender Incongruence Unit, Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences "Mario Serio", University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, Florence 50139, Italy; I.N.B.B., Biostructures and Biosystems National Institute, Viale Delle Medaglie d'Oro 305, Rome 00136, Italy. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Italy)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Psychoneuroendocrinology
Publication Date
Feb 07, 2020
Volume
115
Pages
104606–104606
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104606
PMID: 32087523
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

It is still unclear whether Testosterone (T) increases sexual desire through a stimulation of the androgen receptor in relevant brain regions or through its conversion to estrogens. The aim of this study was to clarify the mechanisms of T facilitation of female sexual desire by assessing the effect of a non-aromatizable androgen (Dihydrotestosterone, DHT) in a validated animal model. Ovariectomized (OVX) Long-Evans rats were treated with oil (O) + O, 10 mcg Estradiol Benzoate (EB) + O, 10 mcg EB + 500 mcg Progesterone (P), O + 500 mcg DHT or 10 mcg EB + 500 mcg DHT (n = 12 per group). EB was administered 48 h, while P and DHT 4 h, prior to 4 sexual behavioral testing sessions in bisected unilevel pacing chambers. Appetitive behaviors (the frequencies of hops/darts and solicitations) were considered as the main outcome measure. Sexual receptivity indexes [lordosis magnitude, expressed as lordosis rating (LR), and lordosis quotient (LQ)], rejection responses, as well as mounts, intromissions and ejaculations received from the male were also coded. The probability of transition among sexual behaviors was evaluated by Transition Matrices; T-Pattern analysis was performed to detect hidden repeated temporal behavioral sequences. Preliminary analyses found no statistically significant differences between the O + O and EB + O groups, therefore we excluded the EB + O group from further analyses. Rats treated with EB + DHT displayed significantly more appetitive behaviors compared to negative controls (O + O and O + DHT), whereas no difference was observed between EB + DHT rats and positive controls (EB + P); noteworthy, a higher number of appetitive behaviors was observed in the O + DHT group compared to the O + O group. Furthermore, rats treated with EB + DHT showed significantly higher receptivity measures (LR and LQ) and received more mounts, intromissions and ejaculations compared to negative controls (O + O and O + DHT), to levels equivalent to EB + P. No differences were detected in female-male mounts or rejection responses among the 4 groups. Under a qualitative perspective, full solicitation was found exclusively in T-patterns of the EB + DHT group, which was also the only one to display T-patterns of higher order encompassing appetitive behaviors-only events. In conclusion, the administration of DHT in EB-primed OVX Long-Evans rats enhances sexual behavior measures. Specifically, DHT seems to stimulate sequences of appetitive behaviors separated from copulative/reproductive measures. Our data support an independent role of androgens in the facilitation of female sexual desire. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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