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Horm Behav. 2005 Sep;48(3):303-10.

Castration reduces male testosterone, estradiol, and territorial aggression, but not paternal behavior in biparental dwarf hamsters (Phodopus campbelli).

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  • 1Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Biparental male hamsters, Phodopus campbelli, act as midwives during the birth of their litter and are highly responsive to an experimentally displaced pup. They also have high peripheral concentrations of estradiol, a hormone with known roles in maternal behavior. Surgical castration during the gestation of their first litter was used to investigate the source of that estradiol and the functional role of testicular sex steroids in paternal responsiveness. In Experiment I, castration reduced both testosterone and estradiol concentrations, confirming that the testes were the primary source of estradiol. However, neither paternal responsiveness nor multiple measures of reproductive success were altered by the castration. Aggression directed towards an intruder, however, was reduced by castration. In Experiment II, removal of prior experience with birth or pups also failed to alter paternal responsiveness in castrated males. Although the present results do not preclude a role for local estradiol synthesis in the brain, results do not support an association between high circulating estradiol in males and their paternal behavior.

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