The long term objective of this research is the elucidation of sites of action and mechanisms of action of gonadal hormones in the regulation of socio-sexual behavior. Research is proposed in four main, inter-related areas: 1) sites and mechanism of action of progesterone (P) in the regulation of estrous responsiveness; 2) the role of pregestin receptors in the mediation of the priming effect of estradiol (E); 3) sites of androgen action in the regulation of masculine sexual behavior; and 4) sites of action of gonadal hormones in the regulation of social behavior. It is generally agreed that the principal sites of P action in the regulation of estrous responsiveness is the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN); however, it is likely that there are other sites of P action that contribute to this function. Intracerebral implants of P and synthetic agonists and antagonists will be employed to provide a clear identification of such sites which, in turn, will provide the basis of future studies on cellular mechanisms hormone of action in the regulation of behavior. In a second line of investigation, local induction of progestin receptors in the VMN by local application of E and microassay by nuclear punch will be carried out in order to determine whether there is a consistent correlation between priming of estrous behavior and induction of progestin receptors in the VMN. In the third area of investigation, the hormone implant approach will be used to obtain a more precise characterization of the sites of action of androgen in the regulation of masculine sexual behavior. Although it is well known that gonadal hormones influence social behavior including aggressive responsiveness and social communication in both males and females, little is known regarding the site of action of these hormones. This problem will be investigated with a combination of hormone implant approaches in conjunction with studies on the neuroendocrine regulation of sexual behavior. Taken together, these studies should provide an enrichment of our understanding of neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying reproductive and social behavior in rats as well as in other mammals, including humans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
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Biopsychology Study Section (BPO)
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Rutgers University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
New Brunswick
United States
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Matochik, J A; Barfield, R J (1994) Dissociation of androgen-dependent sociosexual behaviors in response to castration in Long-Evans rats. Physiol Behav 55:533-6
Matochik, J A; Sipos, M L; Nyby, J G et al. (1994) Intracranial androgenic activation of male-typical behaviors in house mice: motivation versus performance. Behav Brain Res 60:141-9
Pleim, E T; Lipetz, J; Steele, T L et al. (1993) Facilitation of sexual receptivity by ventromedial hypothalamic implants of the antiprogestin RU 486. Horm Behav 27:488-98
Matochik, J A; White, N R; Barfield, R J (1992) Variations in scent marking and ultrasonic vocalizations by Long-Evans rats across the estrous cycle. Physiol Behav 51:783-6
Weinstein, M A; Pleim, E T; Barfield, R J (1992) Effects of neonatal exposure to the antiprogestin mifepristone, RU 486, on the sexual development of the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 41:69-74
Matochik, J A; Barfield, R J; Nyby, J (1992) Regulation of sociosexual communication in female Long-Evans rats by ovarian hormones. Horm Behav 26:545-55
Nyby, J; Matochik, J A; Barfield, R J (1992) Intracranial androgenic and estrogenic stimulation of male-typical behaviors in house mice (Mus domesticus). Horm Behav 26:24-45
Pleim, E T; Baumann, J; Barfield, R J (1991) A contributory role for midbrain progesterone in the facilitation of female sexual behavior in rats. Horm Behav 25:19-28
Matochik, J A; Barfield, R J (1991) Hormonal control of precopulatory sebaceous scent marking and ultrasonic mating vocalizations in male rats. Horm Behav 25:445-60
Pleim, E T; Matochik, J A; Barfield, R J et al. (1990) Correlation of dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens with masculine sexual behavior in rats. Brain Res 524:160-3

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