Role of prolactin in a pheromone-like sexual inhibition in the male lesser mouse lemur

in Journal of Endocrinology
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ABSTRACT

Sexual activity of the male lesser mouse lemur can be induced by a long photoperiod, and plasma testosterone concentrations increase from 20 to 220 nmol/l within 3 weeks of photoperiodic stimulation. When isolated males were exposed to the volatile compounds from the urine of an active dominant male for 4 weeks at the beginning of the long daylight period, they demonstrated a significant decrease in testosterone concentrations (134± 11 nmol/l) compared with controls (210 ± 26 nmol/l) within 2 weeks. Lowering concentrations of prolactin by daily injections of bromocriptine prevented the decrease in testosterone in males simultaneously exposed to the odorant stimulation. Increasing concentrations of prolactin by daily injections of sulpiride mimicked the effect of the odorant stimulation in males receiving only fresh non-odorized air. The decrease in testosterone was strengthened when sulpiride was administered concurrently with exposure to urine. These results support the conclusion that variations in the concentration of prolactin are involved in the neuroendocrinological process mediating the pheromone-like sexual inhibition in the male lesser mouse lemur. However, daily injections of bromocriptine in males which were photoperiodically stimulated but not exposed to dominant male urine odour, also induced a significant decrease in testosterone concentrations. This finding suggests that two different systems involving prolactin and leading to opposite effects might be implicated in the regulation by environmental factors of sexual activity in the male lesser mouse lemur.

J. Endocr. (1987) 114, 279–287

 

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