Inhibition of lordosis behavior in male and female rats by androgens and progesterone

Horm Behav. 2001 Nov;40(3):384-95. doi: 10.1006/hbeh.2001.1703.


Several studies suggest that when manipulated experimentally in adulthood, the lordosis response to estrogen can be increased dramatically in male rats. Because adult-gonadectomized (Gx) animals were used in these studies, the lack of testicular hormones in adulthood may have been a factor. To examine this possibility, adult-Gx rats were implanted with blank (Bk)-, testosterone (T)-, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-, or progesterone (P)-filled capsules, alone or in combination. We report a new finding, that a combined treatment of T plus P (T+P) at physiological doses for the male, but not T or P alone, reduced lordosis significantly in males, with and without estrogen priming. T+P did not inhibit lordosis in females, nor did this specific treatment affect open field, aggressive, and male copulatory behaviors. In confirming studies done with much higher doses, DHT reduced lordosis in both sexes. DHT and T+P also reduced lordosis in adrenalectomized/Gx males. Mechanisms responsible for the T+P inhibition of lordosis in males are not known, but they may include an upregulation of androgen receptors by P, and this possibility is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy
  • Aggression / drug effects
  • Androgens / blood
  • Androgens / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Castration
  • Copulation / drug effects
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Dihydrotestosterone / blood
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Posture / physiology
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*


  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Progesterone