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Behav Brain Res. 2019 Feb 1;359:418-427. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.11.015. Epub 2018 Nov 12.

Sexual interaction is essential for the transformation of non-copulating rats into sexually active animals by the endocannabinoid anandamide.

Author information

1
Departamento de Farmacobiología, CINVESTAV-Sede Sur, Calz. De los Tenorios 235, Col. Granjas Coapa, Ciudad de México 14330, Mexico. Electronic address: cansecoana@yahoo.com.mx.
2
Departamento de Farmacobiología, CINVESTAV-Sede Sur, Calz. De los Tenorios 235, Col. Granjas Coapa, Ciudad de México 14330, Mexico. Electronic address: grodrigu@cinvestav.mx.

Abstract

The endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) transforms half of the population of previously non-copulating (NC) rats into sexually active animals in a long-lasting manner. The aim of this work was to explore the nature of this transformation. We identified the dose range in which AEA induces mating behavior in previously NC rats, which evidenced a dose-based, biphasic profile for AEA to induce the transformation of NC rats. We demonstrate that the sexual interaction with a receptive female, involving at least an intromission, is essential for AEA to induce the transformation of NC rats. This AEA-induced conversion is centrally mediated and involves the activation of CB1 receptors. Results indicate that the sexual impairment of this population of NC rats relies on their incapacity to initiate sexual activity and that an unidentified brain inhibitory influence on sexual behavior expression is removed by AEA treatment, allowing previously NC rats to show copulatory behavior in a long-lasting manner. The inhibitory influence is not removed by AEA treatment when animals are not allowed to have sexual contact with the female immediately after AEA injection. The same result was found for the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone, the other treatment reported to induce copulation in rats classified as NC. These data suggest that sexual behavior expression could depend on two different neural mechanisms at two different moments: one involved in the display of the first copulatory response and another responsible for maintaining subsequent sexual behavior responding.

KEYWORDS:

CB1 receptors; Endocannabinoids; Sexual behavior expression; Sexual stimulation; Sexually inactive male rats; Sexually naïve males

PMID:
30439451
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2018.11.015

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