Effects of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 on sexually motivated behavior in male rats

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Aug;96(2):211-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.05.007. Epub 2010 May 12.


Ample research indicates that age-related neuronal-behavioral decrements are the result of oxidative stress and may be ameliorated by antioxidants. Here we examined effects of mitochondria-targeted antioxidant, SkQ1, on sexual motivation in 12-month-old Wistar and accelerated-senescent OXYS male rats. A change in behavioral activity of a male at a holed transparent partition with a receptive female on the other side was taken as an index of sexual motivation. The social behavior of male in same conditions with ovariectomised (OVXed) female and castrated male was investigated to differentiate sexually and socially motivated behavior. Behavioral response to social stimulus did not depend on age and genotype. No differences were found between 4- and 12-month-old Wistar males when sexual stimulus was presented; however, 12-month-old OXYS males demonstrated a lower propensity for sexual motivation as compared to 4-month-old OXYS rats and 12-month-old Wistar rats. We examined effects of SkQ1 on sexual motivation in 12-month-old male rats following prolonged supplementation begun at 1.5months of age (10, 50 or 250nmol/kg daily), a 45-day supplementation begun at 10.5months of age (50nmol/kg) and a 3-month supplementation begun at 9months of age (250nmol/kg). SkQ1 did not affect locomotor activity; however, it increased the time spent at the partition. A significantly higher measure of the motivational stage of sexual behavior was displayed following chronic preventive treatment at a dose of 50 and 250nmol/kg by OXYS rats. Chronic therapeutic treatment during 3months at a dose of 250nmol/kg was effective in age-accelerated OXYS rats too. These findings suggest an essential role for oxidative stress associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in the decline of sexually motivated behavior of male rats. Recovery from these impairments and/or their prevention enables a fully successful performance of the initial stage of male sexual behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Models, Animal
  • Motivation / drug effects*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Plastoquinone / administration & dosage
  • Plastoquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Plastoquinone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*


  • 10-(6'-plastoquinonyl)decyltriphenylphosphonium
  • Antioxidants
  • Plastoquinone