Exposure to developing females induces polyuria, polydipsia, and altered urinary levels of creatinine, 17beta-estradiol, and testosterone in adult male mice (Mus musculus)

Horm Behav. 2009 Jan;55(1):240-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2008.10.013. Epub 2008 Nov 3.


Novel male mice can accelerate reproductive maturation in proximal developing females, an effect mediated by the chemistry of the males' urine. Exogenous estrogens can similarly accelerate female sexual development. In Experiment 1, adult male mice were housed across wire grid from either empty compartments or those containing post-weanling females. Proximity of females caused males to urinate more, progressively over days of exposure, with most urination directed towards females' compartments. Male urine collected after 5 days in these conditions was analyzed by enzyme immunoassay for 17beta-estradiol, testosterone, and creatinine. Urinary creatinine of isolated males significantly exceeded that of female-exposed males. Unadjusted urinary steroids also trended toward higher levels in isolates, but creatinine-adjusted estradiol and testosterone of female-exposed males significantly exceeded that of isolated males. In Experiment 2, measurement of water consumption indicated significantly greater drinking by female-exposed as opposed to isolated males. In Experiment 3, males were housed in isolation or beside post-weanling intact (sham-operated) females, ovariectomized females, or intact (sham-operated) males. Male water consumption was elevated in all conditions involving social contact. Urinary creatinine was significantly lower in female-exposed males compared to isolated controls, while unadjusted testosterone was significantly lower in males in all social conditions. Again, creatinine-adjusted estradiol in female-exposed males significantly exceeded that of isolates. These data indicate that adult males drink and urinate more, have more dilute urine, and have a higher ratio of estradiol to creatinine when they are near developing females. These dynamics increase females' exposure to urinary steroids and other urinary constituents that can hasten sexual maturity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Creatinine / urine*
  • Drinking Behavior*
  • Estradiol / urine*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Polyuria
  • Random Allocation
  • Social Behavior*
  • Testosterone / urine*
  • Thirst
  • Urination*
  • Water


  • Water
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Creatinine