Endogenous opioids mediate the sexual inhibition but not the drug hypersensitivity induced by sexual satiation in male rats (2013)

Behav Neurosci. 2013 Jun;127(3):458-64. doi: 10.1037/a0032332.

Garduño-Gutiérrez R, Guadarrama-Bazante L, León-Olea M, Rodríguez-Manzo G.


Departamento de Farmacobiología, Cinvestav Sede Sur, Cinvestav Sede Sur, México City, México.


Ejaculation promotes endogenous opioid release. Copulation to exhaustion produces several enduring behavioral and physiological changes, among which a long-lasting sexual behavior inhibition and generalized drug hypersensitivity are the most conspicuous. Because copulation to exhaustion involves multiple successive ejaculations, in this work we hypothesized that the endogenous opioids released by multiple ejaculations during the copulation to exhaustion process might mediate the abovementioned sexual satiation-induced changes. To test this hypothesis, sexually experienced male rats were injected with the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone before copulation to exhaustion and were tested for sexual behavior or drug hypersensitivity 24 h later. The latter was assessed by the appearance of the flat body posture sign of the serotonergic syndrome, in response to doses of the 5-hydroxytryptamine-1A (5-HT1A) receptor agonist 8-hydroxy-2-di-n-propylamino-tetralin (8-OH-DPAT), lower than those normally inducing this sign. The effect of administering naltrexone to already sexually exhausted animals (i.e., 24 h after the sexual satiation process) on both responses was also tested.

Results showed that endogenous opioids mediate the establishment and maintenance of the long-lasting sexual behavior inhibition but not the drug hypersensitivity (to 8-OH-DPAT) characteristic of sexually exhausted male rats. It is concluded that although both phenomena appear as a consequence of copulation to satiation and follow a same time course of recovery, they are produced by distinct mechanisms.

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