The Medial Preoptic Area Serves as a Monitor of Testosterone, not an Integrative Area, to Influence Urine Marking and Male Sexual Behavior

  • Charles W. Scouten
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 56)


Lesions in different parts of the medial hypothalamus can have drastic effects on a variety of different behaviors and metabolic processes, including feeding, thermoregulation, sleep, drinking, maternal behavior, sexual behavior and agonistic behaviors. Why are so many functions so critically dependent on the integrity of neuronal subgroups in the hypothalamus? Stellar (1954) has proposed that there are behavior specific centers composed of cell groupings that overlap within an area, but are functionally and anatomically (at the cellular level) distinct. The several lines of neural and hormonal information that determine these behaviors converge onto the appropriate hypothalamic center. Each center integrates all information relevant to the need for the behavior, and its output is the final common path of motivation for that behavior. This highly influential model is frequently invoked to account for the complete and permanent loss of male copulatory behavior following lesions of the medial preoptic area (MPOA) in rats (Heimer and Larsson, 1966; Ginton and Merari, 1977) and several other species. That is, the MPOA is thought to be an integrative area where neural and hormonal stimuli relevant to male sexual behavior converge to create the neural signals underlying motivation to copulate (Heimer and Larsson, 1966; Lisk, 1967; Giantonio et al., 1970; Malsbury, 1971).


Sexual Behavior Copulatory Behavior Medial Forebrain Bundle Testosterone Treatment Estrous Female 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Scouten
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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