Recent clinical studies have suggested that the atypical antidepressant, bupropion (Wellbutrin), may stimulate sexual desire in women. Two experiments were conducted, testing the effect of acute bupropion administration on the sexual motivation and copulatory behavior of female rats. In the first experiment, 63 sexually-experienced, female Long–Evans rats were tested in a runway for their motivation to approach an empty goalbox, a nonestrous female, and an adult male. Both latency to approach and time spent in close proximity to the targets were used as dependent variables. Subjects were tested in both a nonestrous (OVX) and estrous (OVX + 15 μg estradiol + 500 μg progesterone) state, and following administration of 0.0, 7.5, or 15 mg/kg bupropion hydrochloride (subcutaneous, 45 min prior to testing). Results indicated that pre-treatment with ovarian hormones significantly increased the sexual motivation of the subjects. Bupropion treatment had no significant effect, either stimulatory or inhibitory, on subjects' socio-sexual motivation. In the second experiment, 60 female subjects were paired with an adult male for a thirty-minute copulatory test. Subjects were tested under one of three hormonal conditions: nonestrous (no hormones), 15 μg estradiol, or 15 μg estradiol + 500 μg progesterone. Subjects were also pre-treated with either physiological saline or 15 mg/kg bupropion. Results indicated that while hormonal administration had a strong effect on female sexual behavior, bupropion treatment did not significantly affect either lordosis or the emission of hop-darts. Males paired with bupropion-treated females successfully achieved a greater number of ejaculations and demonstrated significantly shortened post-ejaculatory intervals. It is possible that bupropion treatment enhanced female attractiveness.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2007
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