Systemic or intracranial apomorphine increases copulation in long-term castrated male rats

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990 Nov;37(3):471-5. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(90)90015-a.


Testosterone or its estrogenic metabolite is thought to be necessary to activate male rat sexual behavior. However, systemic injections of dopamine agonists, alone or in combination with exogenous testosterone, can partially restore copulatory behavior during the prolonged period of its postcastration decline. The present experiments tested the ability of the dopamine agonist apomorphine, injected systemically or into the medial preoptic area (MPOA), to restore copulation in long-term castrates that had failed to copulate on two successive weekly tests. In Experiment 1, systemic injections of apomorphine increased the number of mounts and intromissions in castrated males, compared to vehicle. In castrates given subthreshold testosterone propionate (TP), apomorphine increased the number of mounts. In Experiment 2, microinjections of apomorphine into the MPOA increased the number of mounts in animals without TP. Subthreshold TP had no significant effects in either experiment, either alone or interacting with apomorphine. These results suggest that stimulation of dopamine receptors can partially restore copulation, even after its virtual elimination. Furthermore, dopamine receptors in the MPOA may contribute to sexual arousal in long-term castrates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / administration & dosage
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology*
  • Copulation / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Orchiectomy*
  • Preoptic Area
  • Rats
  • Testosterone / pharmacology


  • Testosterone
  • Apomorphine