Ten adult prepubertally castrated rams were injected with 5α-dihydrotestosterone propionate (DHTP; 20 mg/day) for 3 weeks to stimulate genital development. Thereafter, half of the sheep were injected with testosterone (100 mg/day) for a further 4 weeks, while the remainder received the same dose of 17β-hydroxy-17α-methyl-estra-4,9,11-triene-3-one (methyltrienolone; R1881). All the animals were tested for sexual behaviour on 15 occasions with ovariectomized ewes in which oestrous behaviour was induced by injections of 50 μg oestradiol-17β benzoate at 4- to 5-day intervals. Behavioural tests were of 10 min duration and were carried out thrice weekly over a 5-week period, starting in the final week of DHTP treatment. Animals treated with testosterone showed a highly significant increase in courtship behaviour (tongue-flicks; lunges and nudges) after only four daily injections and this level of activity was maintained to the end of the experiment. However, the incidence of courtship activity in sheep treated with R1881 was similar to that recorded during the period of DHTP treatment. All animals given testosterone displayed mounts with pelvic thrusts and erections, and achieved intromission with ejaculation. These activities remained significantly more frequent than in sheep treated with R1881, starting from tests 9, 8 and 12 respectively. Four of the five individuals in the group given R1881 showed occasional mounts with thrusts, three showed sporadic erections and one sheep intromitted in the final test. These results indicate that, in contrast to the rat, R1881 has only very weak effects on sexual behaviour in the castrated ram.
J. Endocr. (1986) 110, 481–487