Midbrain central gray GABAA receptor activation enhances, and blockade reduces, sexual behavior in the female rat.

Article date: 1991/1/1

PubMed ID: 495776

Journal name: Experimental brain research (ISSN: 0014-4819)


The inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, has been implicated in the control of lordosis behavior. Previous studies indicate that modulation of GABAA transmission can have dual effects on lordosis, being facilitative in the ventromedial hypothalamus and inhibitory in the preoptic area. The midbrain central gray (MCG) is also known to be an important neural site for regulating lordosis as well as defensive and escape behaviors, and plays an integral role in the control of nociception. Because of the multitude of behaviors regulated at the level of the MCG, we utilized a two-chamber testing apparatus that allowed simultaneous measurement of the females' proceptive (hopping and darting), receptive and rejection behaviors, as well as an index of nociception and general motor activity. We found that microinfusion of the GABAA antagonist, bicuculline, into the MCG of steroid-primed female rats resulted in a significant decrease in lordosis and proceptive behaviors at 5 min post-infusion. There was full recovery to pretest levels by 60 min. Furthermore, microinfusion of the GABAA agonist, muscimol, to estrogen-treated females that displayed low levels of receptivity and high levels of rejection behavior during a pretest, resulted in a significant increase in lordosis responding and a decrease in rejection behaviors. Neither drug significantly affected time spent in the vicinity of the male, motor activity or vocalizations. It is concluded that the decrease in lordosis resulting from blockade of GABA transmission is not solely due to the induction of antagonistic behaviors since there was no increase in rejections after bicuculline administration. The current findings are consistent with the interpretation that GABA facilitates lordosis in the MCG via disinhibition.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Author List: McCarthy M M, Pfaff D W, Schwartz-Giblin S

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Substances mentioned in the article: 2-hydroxy-4,4'-diamidinostilbene, methanesulfonate salt; Fluorescent Dyes; GABA-A Receptor Antagonists; Receptors, GABA-A; Stilbamidines; Muscimol; Progesterone; Estradiol; Bicuculline;

Mesh terms: Animals; Bicuculline/pharmacology; Estradiol/pharmacology; Female; Fluorescent Dyes; GABA-A Receptor Antagonists; Histocytochemistry; Muscimol/pharmacology; Nociceptors/drug effects; Ovariectomy; Periaqueductal Gray/anatomy & histology; Progesterone/pharmacology; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Receptors, GABA-A/drug effects; Sexual Behavior, Animal/drug effects; Stilbamidines;

Citations: - 2859869

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