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Brain Res. 2006 Dec 18;1126(1):56-65. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Sexual experience in female rodents: cellular mechanisms and functional consequences.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA. meisel@psych.purdue.edu

Abstract

The neurobiology of female sexual behavior has largely focused on mechanisms of hormone action on nerve cells and how these effects translate into the display of copulatory motor patterns. Of equal importance, though less studied, are some of the consequences of engaging in sexual behavior, including the rewarding properties of sexual interactions and how sexual experience alters copulatory efficiency. This review summarizes the effects of sexual experience on reward processes and copulation in female Syrian hamsters. Neural correlates of these sexual interactions include long-term cellular changes in dopamine transmission and postsynaptic signaling pathways related to neuronal plasticity (e.g., dendritic spine formation). Taken together, these studies suggest that sexual experience enhances the reinforcing properties of sexual behavior, which has the coincident outcome of increasing copulatory efficiency in a way that can increase reproductive success.

PMID:
16978593
PMCID:
PMC1779900
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2006.08.050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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