Dopamine-stimulated sexual behavior is testosterone dependent in mice

Behav Neurosci. 1998 Oct;112(5):1229-35. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.112.5.1229.


Mice unable to synthesize dopamine (DA) in dopaminergic neurons were generated by gene-targeting techniques (Q.-Y. Zhou & R. D. Palmiter, 1995). These dopamine-deficient (DA-/-) mice required daily administration of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) for survival beyond 2 to 3 weeks of age. This treatment stimulated mounting and aggressive behavior of adult DA-/- males toward both male and female mice. Both a nonspecific DA agonist (apomorphine) and a specific D1 agonist (SKF81297) stimulated aggression and mounting behavior; however, a D2 agonist (quinpirole) was less effective. Castration of male DA-/- mice demonstrated that these L-DOPA-stimulated behaviors depend on testosterone. In addition, replacement of testosterone to castrated males showed that the testosterone-responsive pathways of DA-/- males were more sensitive to testosterone than wild-type mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Castration
  • Dopamine / biosynthesis*
  • Dopamine / deficiency
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Levodopa / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Quinpirole / pharmacology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Benzazepines
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Quinpirole
  • Testosterone
  • Levodopa
  • SK&F 81297
  • Apomorphine
  • Dopamine