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Exp Gerontol. 1997 Jul-Oct;32(4-5):539-52.

Sexual performance and longevity.

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Department of Pharmacology, Semmelweis University of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary.


Sexually inactive ("low-performing," LP) and highly active ("high-performing," HP) rats were selected from a sexually inexperienced population. Saline control LP rats (n = 44) lived 134.58 +/- 2.29 weeks, their HP peers (n = 49) lived 151.24 +/- 1.36 weeks. Life-long treatment with 0.25 mg/kg (-)deprenyl, a selective inhibitor of MAO-B that also stimulates action potential-transmitter release coupling in the catecholaminergic neurons in the brain (catecholaminergic activity enhancer, CAE, effect), enhanced the sexual and learning performance of both LP and HP rats and prolonged their life. LP rats (n = 48) treated with (-)deprenyl lived 152.54 +/- 1.36 weeks and HP rats on (-)deprenyl (n = 50) lived 185.30 +/- 1.96 weeks. As an indicator of the basic activity of catecholaminergic neurons, the resting release of dopamine from the striatum, substantia nigra, and tuberculum olfactorium, and of norepinephrine from the locus coeruleus, was measured in 2-, 4-, 8-, 16-, and 32-week-old male and female rats. The release of transmitters between weaning and the second month of age, i.e., during the crucial developmental phase of life, was significantly higher than either before or after that period, indicating that a CAE mechanism starts working with high intensity after weaning, lasts until the completion of full scale sexual development, and shows an unparalleled decay thereafter. It was concluded that the CAE regulation in the brain, stimulated by (-)deprenyl, controls general activity and consequently the longevity of rats.

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