Pubertal changes in gonadal hormones do not underlie adolescent dopamine receptor overproduction

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2002 Aug;27(6):683-91. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4530(01)00069-5.


Males, but not females, overproduce dopamine receptors in the striatum of rats across the periadolescent period followed by their elimination during young adulthood. In order to investigate the role that gonadal hormones play in this pubertal process, rats were castrated or ovariectomized at postnatal day (P) 28 when estrogen and testosterone levels are beginning to surge. Dopamine D1 and D2 striatal receptor density was then determined with autoradiography at P40 (adolescence) and P80 (young adulthood) to determine if either testosterone stimulates the overproduction of receptors in males or if estrogen inhibits this process in females. Neither castration nor ovariectomy altered dopamine receptor density, although enhanced testosterone levels increased D1 receptor binding 4.2% and 19.5% in males and females, respectively. The results of this study suggest that the endogenous rise in gonadal steroid hormones during puberty is not responsible for the overproduction of receptors in males or the lack of overproduction in females.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Estrogens / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Dopamine / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / analysis
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Maturation*
  • Testosterone / physiology*


  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Testosterone