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Physiol Behav. 1986;36(3):419-25.

Effect of flutamide (an antiandrogen) and diethylstilbestrol on the reproductive behavior of Japanese quail.


Three experiments were conducted in order to investigate the role of brain androgen and estrogen receptors in sex hormone activated male reproductive behavior in Japanese quail. In Experiment 1, castrated male quail were injected with oil, testosterone propionate (TP), flutamide (FLUT), an androgen antagonist, or TP+FLUT. Males given TP+FLUT, compared with birds receiving TP alone, strutted much less and had smaller proctodeal (foam) glands. Copulation was reduced by FLUT only on the last test day and only on one measure (number of head grabs + mounts). These results suggest that binding of testosterone or one of its metabolites to an androgen receptor is part of the mechanism of TP activated strutting, and therefore that central nervous system androgen receptors are involved in a male reproductive behavior pattern. In Experiment 2, castrated male quail were injected with oil, with 50 micrograms estradiol benzoate (EB), or with 25, 50 or 100 micrograms diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen that does not bind to androgen receptors. EB but not DES activated copulation to a significant extent. In Experiment 3 male and female quail with photically regressed gonads were given intraperitoneal Silastic implants of DES, estradiol (E) or cholesterol. DES was highly effective at activating male-typical copulation in males and receptivity in both sexes. Thus hormonal interaction with estrogen receptors alone is sufficient for the activation of male-typical as well as female-typical copulatory behavior in this species.

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