Estradiol benzoate facilitates lordosis and ear wiggling of 4- to 6-day-old rats.
The effects of exogenous and endogenous steroids on components of female sexual behavior of neonatal male and female rats were investigated. In Experiment 1, 4-day-old rats were treated with 0, 0.1, 1.0, 10, or 100 micrograms/10 g body weight estradiol benzoate (EB) and were tested 44 hr later. In Experiment 2, male rats castrated within 24 to 48 hr of birth were compared with sham operated controls and castrates given steroid replacement. The results indicated that most 6-day-old pups will display lordosis and ear wiggling; therefore, the display of these responses is not dependent upon exogenous steroids. However, a fine-grained behavioral analysis revealed that EB treatment increased the frequency, duration, and intensity of lordosis and the frequency of ear wiggling in infant females, and it increased lordosis duration in males. Castration of infant males decreased the likelihood that male infants would display lordosis, whereas testosterone replacement restored behavior to control levels. These data question the concept that organizational and activational actions of estrogens occur during completely separable times in development and should provide new insights into the development of estrogen receptor function and the process of sexual differentiation of brain and behavior.
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