Progesterone facilitation of lordosis in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats following priming with estradiol pulses

Horm Behav. 1988 Sep;22(3):294-304. doi: 10.1016/0018-506x(88)90002-5.


Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats rarely exhibit progesterone-facilitated lordosis following steroid treatments which are effective in females. In contrast, progesterone-facilitated lordosis has been observed following priming with estradiol pulses in another strain. The aim of this study was to compare progesterone-facilitated feminine sexual behavior in adult male and female Sprague-Dawley rats following priming with estradiol benzoate (EB) or estradiol pulses. Female sexual behavior was measured in adult, gonadectomized males and females treated as follows: Two pulses of estradiol followed by progesterone or oil the next day; EB (two doses) for 3 days, and progesterone or oil the next day. These protocols were repeated at 4- or 6-day intervals, respectively. Progesterone-facilitated lordosis was observed consistently in both sexes treated with estradiol pulses. By the fifth test, lordosis quotients did not differ between the sexes, but the lordosis ratings in progesterone-treated males remained lower than those observed in females. Proceptivity (hop-darting) was facilitated by progesterone in females, but was never observed in males. Lordosis was induced in both sexes by 15 micrograms EB, but was not reliably facilitated by progesterone. Treatment with the lower dose of EB (1.5 micrograms) induced high levels of receptivity in females (occasionally facilitated by progesterone), but not in males regardless of subsequent treatment (i.e, progesterone or oil). These data suggest that progesterone-facilitated lordosis can be induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats, if a regimen of estradiol pulses is used. Thus, the brain of the adult male is not inflexibly differentiated with regard to progesterone facilitation of feminine receptive behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Ovariectomy
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*


  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol