Extra-hypothalamic dopamine is not involved in the effects of hyperprolactinemia on male copulatory behavior

P. C. Doherty, S. J. Lane, K. A. Pfeil, W. W. Morgan, A. Bartke, M. S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Experiments were performed to determine if the inhibition of copulatory behavior observed in male rats with chronically elevated serum prolactin levels (hyperprolactinemia) is associated with changes in central dopaminergic function in the nigrostriatal and mesolimbic systems. Chronic hyperprolactinemia, induced by ectopic pituitary grafts, inhibited sexual activity but was not associated with changes in locomotor activity, stereotyped behavior in response to various doses of apomorphine, or 3H-spiroperidol binding to striatal homogenates. However, open-field defecation was reduced in the pituitary grafted animals. The results of the present study show that changes in nigrostriatal dopamine receptor sensitivity do not contribute to the inhibition of sexual behavior in hyperprolactinemic male rats. In addition, these results also demonstrate that the effects of hyperprolactinemia are relatively specific to copulatory behavior and appear not to involve general behavioral suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1105
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Copulatory behavior
  • Defecation
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Locomotor activity
  • Stereotypy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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