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Physiol Behav. 2007 Nov 23;92(4):591-600. Epub 2007 May 22.

Effects of acute stress on the day of proestrus on sexual behavior and ovulation in female rats: participation of the angiotensinergic system.

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  • 1Laboratório de Neuroendocrinologia do Comportamento, Departamento de Fisiologia, Instituto de Ciências Básicas da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brasil.


Physical or emotional stress can affect the female reproductive physiology and angiotensin II (Ang II) is a hormone that participates in the stress response and also in the control of reproductive hormones. The present study aimed at evaluating the effects of acute stress in the morning and afternoon of proestrus on sexual behavior and ovulation and the participation of Ang II in the stress-induced effects. Female rats with regular estrous cycles were used. Several different stress protocols were tested in the morning and in the afternoon of proestrus: restraint stress 10 min; restraint stress 1 h and ether stress, respectively. The participation of Ang II was evaluated by injecting Ang II receptor antagonists (losartan and PD123319) 15 min before stress. The lordosis quotient was recorded and the number of oocytes was counted. Plasma levels of luteinizing hormone, progesterone, prolactin and corticosterone were measured. All types of stress in the morning of proestrus induced a reduction in the number of oocytes. Restraint stress (1 h) in the afternoon of proestrus induced a significant reduction in the lordosis quotient. Peripheral and central losartan, but not PD123319, injections partly reverted the effects of stress on ovulation in the morning of proestrus. Acute stress in the morning of proestrus also reduced luteinizing hormone, progesterone and prolactin surges later on the same day. In conclusion, acute stress on the day of proestrus can affect female reproductive physiology. Moreover, the angiotensinergic system, through AT(1) receptors, participates in the effects of acute stress in the morning of proestrus.

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