Vasopressin deficiency abolishes a sexually dimorphic behavior in Brattleboro rats

Physiol Behav. 1992 Apr;51(4):839-43. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(92)90124-k.


The role of vasopressin (VP) in a sexually dimorphic behavior, the extinction of a conditioned taste aversion, was investigated in male and female rats of three different genotypes. This behavior was examined with a two bottle test in the wild-type Long-Evans (LE) rats, and then in partially VP deficient heterozygous (HET-BB) and completely VP deficient homozygous (HO-BB) Brattleboro rats. In Experiment 1, non-deprived male and female LE rats were given aversions to a sucrose solution by pairing it with a LiCl injection. The rate of extinction of the aversion upon reexposure to ad lib sucrose solution was examined and observed to be sexually dimorphic. Female LE rats extinguished at a significantly more rapid rate than males. Experiment 2 compared HET-BB and HO-BB male and female rats using the same paradigm. Neither of these VP-deficient groups showed sexual dimorphism of the extinction behavior. The data suggest that intact VP levels are necessary to observe the expression of this sexually dimorphic behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Limbic System / physiology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Brattleboro
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Taste / physiology
  • Vasopressins / physiology*


  • Vasopressins