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Horm Behav. 2010 Mar;57(3):291-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.12.010. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Ghrelin's quick inhibition of androgen-dependent behaviors of male house mice (Mus musculus).

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Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.


Ghrelin is a peptide hormone released by the stomach that stimulates hunger. Ghrelin also suppresses reproductive physiology by inhibiting the HPG axis. However, to our knowledge, our results are the first to demonstrate ghrelin's quick suppression of sex-hormone-regulated behaviors. In experiment 1, 2 orexigenic i.p. ghrelin injections (0.165 mg/kg and 0.33 mg/kg) suppressed male courtship behavior (ultrasonic calling to a female) and intermale aggression (latency to attack a stimulus male) 20 min following administration. Experiment 2 (examining only the 0.33 mg/kg dose ) replicated ghrelin's suppression of ultrasonic calling and intermale aggression; however, a third behavior, preference for volatile female odors (20 min following administration), was not significantly inhibited. In experiment 2, ghrelin treatment did not affect general locomotor activity (distance traveled 20 min following injection) or seminal vesicle weight (measured 5 days after completing ghrelin injections). We hypothesize that ghrelin's quick suppression of male aggression and ultrasonic mating calls was mediated through its effects on the brain (rather than indirectly through inhibition of the HPG axis).

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