Sexual Behavior Reduces Hypothalamic Androgen Receptor Immunoreactivity (2003)

Comments: Testosterone levels did not vary with one copulation or with copulation to sexual exhaustion. Ejaculation to exhaustion is correlated to a drop in brain androgen receptors.

Fernandez-Guasti A, Swaab D, Rodriguez-Manzo G.

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2003 May;28(4):501-12.

Department of Pharmacobiology, CINVESTAV, Calz. De los Tenorios 235, Col. Granjas Coapa, Mexico 14330 D.F., Mexico.


Male sexual behavior is regulated by limbic areas like the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN), the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST), the nucleus accumbens (nAcc) and the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMN). Neurons in these brain areas are rich in ANDROGEN RECEPTORS (AR) and express FOS-immunoreactivity in response to mating. In many species sexual satiation, a state of sexual behavior inhibition, is attained after multiple ejaculations. The mechanisms underlying sexual satiation are largely unknown. In this study we show that sexual activity reduces androgen receptor immunoreactivity (ANDROGEN RECEPTORS –ir) in some of the brain areas associated with the control of male sexual behavior, but not in others. Thus, one ejaculation reduced the AR-ir in the MPN and nAcc, but not in the BST and VMN. Copulation to satiation, on the other hand, reduced AR-ir in the MPN, nAcc and VMN, and not in the BST. The AR-ir reduction observed in the MPN of sexually satiated rats was drastic when compared to that of animals ejaculating once.

Serum androgen levels did not vary after one ejaculation or copulation to exhaustion. These data reveal that sexual activity reduces ANDROGEN RECEPTORS in specific brain areas and suggest the possibility that such a reduction underlies the sexual inhibition that characterizes sexual satiety.