Microinjection of the dopamine antagonist cis-flupenthixol into the MPOA impairs copulation, penile reflexes and sexual motivation in male rats

Brain Res. 1991 Feb 1;540(1-2):177-82. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)90505-p.


Microinjection of the dopamine antagonist cis-flupenthixol into the medial preoptic area was previously shown to impair male rat copulatory behavior. The present experiments provide further evidence of cis-flupenthixol's inhibitory effects on male sexual behavior. Following microinjections of moderate to high doses of cis-flupenthixol, males exhibited slower copulatory rates and fewer ejaculations in copula, fewer ex copula erections and penile movements, and reduced sexual motivation in an X-maze. Locomotion in the X-maze was not significantly affected. Microinjections of the inactive isomer trans-flupenthixol produced no change in any behavioral measure, indicating that cis-flupenthixol's effects were receptor mediated. We suggest that dopamine receptors in the MPOA influence copulation primarily by regulating reflexive and motivational factors, but not locomotion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Copulation / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Flupenthixol / administration & dosage
  • Flupenthixol / pharmacology*
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Motivation*
  • Penis / drug effects
  • Penis / physiology*
  • Preoptic Area / drug effects
  • Preoptic Area / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Reference Values
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*


  • Flupenthixol