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Effects of morphiceptin in the medial preoptic area on male sexual behavior

Abstract

Morphiceptin, a selective μ opioid agonist, injected into the medial preoptic area (MPOA), delayed the onset of copulation in male rats, but did not affect genital reflexes, sexual motivation or general motor activity. In a dose-dependent manner, morphiceptin (100 ng and 1000 ng) injected into the MPOA increased mount and intromission latencies. Similar injections of morphiceptin into the ventromedial hypothalamus had no effect on any parameter of copulation. The increase in copulatory latencies following the injection of the highest dose of morphiceptin was blocked by pretreatment with the opioid antagonist naloxone. In the X-maze task, morphiceptin had no effect on sexual motivation, as measured by the percentage of trials on which the male chose the female's chamber, but it increased the number of trials in which the subject did not select a chamber within 60 s and the latency to the female the first time he chose her chamber. Similar to the copulation task, the mount and intromission latencies were also increased in the X-maze, after the male reached the female. Morphiceptin in the MPOA had no effect on ex copula genital reflexes, tested in restrained supine males, or on motor activity, tested in a grid box. These results suggest that morphiceptin disrupts either the specific copulatory somatomotor pattern or a more general motivational component.

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Preliminary reports were given to the Society for Neuroscience, Anaheim, Calif., and the Conference on Reproductive Behavior, Halifax, N.S., in 1992.

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Matuszewich, L., Ormsby, J.L., Moses, J. et al. Effects of morphiceptin in the medial preoptic area on male sexual behavior. Psychopharmacology 122, 330–335 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02246262

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02246262

Key words

  • Male sexual behavior
  • Opioid peptides
  • Motivation
  • Medial preoptic area
  • μ-Receptors