Effects of the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor, fadrozole, on the sexual behavior of male cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)

Horm Behav. 1993 Jun;27(2):200-15. doi: 10.1006/hbeh.1993.1015.


In many vertebrates, castration and hormone replacement and, more recently, the use of aromatase inhibitors, have shown that male sexual activity is mediated by the aromatization of testosterone (T) to estradiol (E2). In macaques, however, the systemic administration of E2, either alone or in combination with androgen, failed either to maintain or to restore the sexual activity of castrated males. The present study examines the effects of administering the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor, Fadrozole, either alone or combined with E2, to castrated, T-treated male cynomolgus monkeys at a dose of 0.25 mg/kg/day. This dose inhibited by over 98% the conversion of T to E2 and the subsequent accumulation of the latter in hypothalamic cell nuclei. Castrated males bearing sc Silastic impants of T were each tested with an ovariectomized, E2-treated female partner before, during, and after being given minipumps delivering either Fadrozole or water (240 1-hr tests). Within 2 weeks, Fadrozole significantly reduced ejaculatory activity and male sexual motivation in the absence of changes in plasma T levels, which remained in the upper range for intact males. Additional estradiol treatment produced small but significant increases in ejaculations by three of the six males only, and measures of male sexual motivation remained unchanged (120 tests). The present results, which stand in contrast to our previous findings in macaques, support the view that aromatization of T is important for ejaculatory activity and sexual motivation in a male primate. They also suggest that exogenous E2, which reaches the brain from the systemic circulation, does not fully duplicate the behavioral effects of E2 produced locally in the brain by the aromatization of T.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Copulation / drug effects
  • Drug Implants
  • Ejaculation / drug effects
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Fadrozole / pharmacokinetics
  • Fadrozole / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable
  • Libido / drug effects
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / pharmacology


  • Drug Implants
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Fadrozole