Masculine sexual behaviour was induced in castrated sexually inactive but experienced male rats by testosterone-filled constant-release implants or daily injections of the synthetic androgen 17β-hydroxy-17α-methyl-estra- 4,9,11-triene-3-one (methyltrienolone, R 1881), which resists metabolism by target organs. Feminization of the hepatic androgen metabolism by subcutaneous implantation of osmotic minipumps, which delivered a constant amount of human GH, did not affect the behavioural response of castrated rats to testosterone. Testosterone implants were only minimally effective in inducing male behaviour in ovariectomized female rats, but R 1881 was as effective in stimulating male behaviour in females as in males. Testosterone-treated but not R 1881-treated females showed pronounced female sexual behaviour in response to progesterone treatment despite the absence of measureable amounts of oestradiol-17β in peripheral blood. The results provide evidence that masculine sexual behaviour can be activated by an androgen in the absence of oestrogenic stimulation and suggest that the sex difference in the behavioural response to testosterone may be due to a sex difference in the metabolism of androgens by the brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism