Hypothalamic 5HT concentrations are transiently lower in male compared to female Wistar rats in the second week post partum (pp) and our previous findings have shown that pharmacologically potentiating 5HT activity over this period feminizes certain aspects of sexually differentiated behaviours in adult males and androgenized females. In order to investigate whether neonatal testosterone and 5HT interact to influence physiological and morphological brain sexual differences, females, androgenized females and males were treated with the 5HT2 agonist (−) (2,5 dimethoxy‐4‐iodophenyl)‐2‐amino propane HCl ((−) DOI), over days 8–16 pp. In androgenized females (250 µg testosterone proprionate, day 2 pp) (−) DOI prevented the delay in vaginal opening, but did not prevent the androgen‐induced constant oestrus in females treated with 100 µg TP, day 2 pp. (−) DOI overcame the neonatal androgen effect in suppressing the positive feedback of ovarian steroids in a few males and androgenized females. (−) DOI had a feminizing effect on the volume of the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (normally smaller in males), by significantly increasing its volume in male and androgenized females. It also had a significant antagonistic effect on the testosterone‐induced increase in the volume of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area in males and androgenized females. These findings support the view that raised 5HT activity in the second week of life antagonizes the masculinizing effect of neonatal testosterone.
European Journal of Neuroscience – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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