Behav Pharmacol. 2014 Oct;25(7):684-94. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000086.
Dopamine (DA) plays a central role in the expression of male sexual behavior. The effects of DA-enhancing drugs on copulation seem to vary depending on the dose of the agonist used, the type of DA receptor activated, and the sexual condition of the animals. The aim of the present study was to carry out a systematic analysis of the effects of dopaminergic agonists on the expression of male sexual behavior by sexually competent rats in different sexual motivational states, that is when sexually active (sexually experienced) and when temporarily inhibited (sexually exhausted). To this end, the same doses of the nonselective DA receptor agonist apomorphine, the selective D2-like DA receptor agonist quinpirole, and the selective D1-like DA receptor agonist SKF38393 were injected intraperitoneally to sexually experienced or sexually exhausted male rats and their sexual behavior was recorded. Low apomorphine doses induced expression of sexual behavior in sexually satiated rats, but only reduced the intromission latency of sexually experienced rats. SKF38393 facilitated the expression of sexual behavior by sexually exhausted rats, but not that of sexually experienced males and quinpirole did not exert an effect in both types of animal. In line with these results, the apomorphine-induced reversal of sexual exhaustion was blocked by the D1-like receptor antagonist SCH23390. The data suggest that DA receptors play distinct roles in the expression of sexual behavior by male rats depending on their motivational state and that activation of D1-like receptors promotes the expression of sexual behavior in satiated rats.