The effects of the serotonin-synthesis inhibitor, p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) on female sexual behaviors were examined in male rats with or without lesions (DRL) of the dorsal raphe nucleus, which contains a large number of serotonergic cell bodies. Estrogen-primed castrated males without brain surgery (control) showed extremely low levels of lordosis compared with females. On the other hand, DRL males displayed lordosis response more frequently than control males, but the lordosis quotient (LQ) in this group was lower than that in females. As well as DRL males, all PCPA-treated males showed lordosis, the mean LQ being comparable to the DRL group. Thus, the destruction of the dorsal raphe nucleus or the deprivation of serotonin by PCPA treatment facilitates manifestation of lordosis behavior in male rats. However, synergistic effect of DRL and PCPA treatments on female sexual behaviors have not been observed. The mean LQ in PCPA-treated male rats with DRL was almost the same as in DRL males or PCPA-treated males. These results suggest that the possible site of action of PCPA in regulating female sexual behavior in male rats is the serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Furthermore, the lordosis-facilitating effect of DRL is due to destruction of the serotonergic cell bodies in the dorsal raphe nucleus.
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