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Behav Brain Res. 2011 Oct 31;224(2):403-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.06.020. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Evidence for suppressant effects of testosterone on sex-typical ethanol intake in male Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Center for Development and Behavioral Neuroscience, Developmental Exposure to Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA.


Previous studies have shown that adult female rats consume more ethanol than adult males. Castration of male rats has been found to increase their ethanol intake and preference to levels significantly elevated above their sham-gonadectomized counterparts and similar to levels observed in females. The purpose of the present experiment was to examine whether testosterone replacement in castrated adult male rats would be sufficient to restore the relatively low levels of ethanol drinking characteristic of intact adult male rats. Males were either gonadectomized and implanted with a testosterone propionate pellet (RPL), gonadectomized and implanted with a placebo pellet (GX), sham-gonadectomized and implanted with a placebo pellet (SH), or were left non-manipulated (NM). Voluntary ethanol intake was measured using a 2h limited-access drinking paradigm, with access to two bottles: one containing water, and the other a sweetened ethanol solution. Hormone replacement was sufficient to return ethanol intake and preference of castrates to levels comparable to both SH and NM control males. Ethanol preference of RPL males was also significantly suppressed compared to GX males by the end of the measurement period, whereas these group comparisons did not reach statistical significance for g/kg ethanol intake. These data suggest that testosterone serves to suppress ethanol preference in male rats, and may contribute to the sex differences in ethanol preference and consumption commonly reported in adult rats.

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