Electrical stimulation of dorsal and ventral striatum differentially alters the copulatory behavior of male rats (2010)

Behav Neurosci. 2010 Oct;124(5):686-94. doi: 10.1037/a0020737.

Rodríguez-Manzo G1, Pellicer F.


Sexual behavior is a natural reward that activates striatal dopaminergic (DA) circuits, and dopamine exerts a facilitative influence on copulation. Electrical stimulation of the striatum has been shown to be rewarding, but its effect on male sexual behavior display has not been established. The objective of the present work was to assess the effects of low- and high-frequency electrical stimulation of the dorsal and ventral striatum on male rat sexual behavior expression. To this aim, copulatory activity of sexually experienced male rats was recorded during electrical stimulation of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) or caudate-putamen (CP), at each stimulation frequency, before and after sexual exhaustion.

Results showed that electrical stimulation of the NAcc at both frequencies increased the number of ejaculations that male rats were able to show in a 30-min period. By contrast, stimulation delivered to the CP inhibited sexual behavior by slowing its display. Each effect was more pronounced at low than at high stimulation frequencies. In the same rats, once sexually exhausted, electrical stimulation of these brain areas did not reverse the sexual behavior inhibition that characterizes the sexual exhaustion state.

It is concluded that dorsal and ventral striatal DA brain regions exert opposite influences on copulatory behavior expression of sexually experienced male rats. Also, that the facilitative effect of NAcc electrical stimulation on sexual activity, with the stimulation parameters used, cannot surmount the sexual behavior inhibition resulting from copulation to satiation.