Testosterone Has Rewarding Affective Properties in Male Rats: Implications for the Biological Basis of Sexual Motivation
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Evidence from mammalian species, including humans, suggests that testosterone (T) enhances motivational aspects of sexual behavior, although the mechanism by which T exerts this effect is unknown. The hypothesis that increases in plasma T have rewarding affective properties was examined. Acute elevations of plasma T were induced in intact male rats by systemic administration of a recently developed testosterone-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin inclusion complex that mimics pulsatile release of the hormone. In a conditioned-place-preference paradigm, rats displayed a preference for an environment previously paired with T administration (800 micrograms/kg and 1,200 micrograms/kg) as opposed to an environment paired with saline administration, indicating that T has rewarding affective properties. The findings suggest that T may enhance motivational aspects of mammalian sexual behavior by facilitating acquisition or expression of learned associations between environmental stimuli and sexual activity.
author list (cited authors)
Alexander, G. M., Packard, M. G., & Hines, M.