Immunoreactive-β-endorphin and LHRH levels in the brains of aged male rats with impaired sex behavior

Daniel M. Dorsa, Erla R. Smith, Julian M. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


-Levels of immunoreactive β-endorphin and luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) were measured in brain tissue of aged male Long-Evans rats. The animals were tested for sex behavior twice in one week at bimonthly intervals between the 7th and 27th month of life and were sacrificed along with a group of young (5-month old) sexually active rats. Thirty-one of the 89 rats which began the study remained healthy and tumor-free. By month 27, 21 of these had completely ceased to mate and 10 continued to show adequate sexual behavior. Diminished levels of β-endorphin-like immunoreactivity were measured in the hypothalami and hindbrain of the old animals grouped together as compared to young animals and this reduction was shown to be significantly greater in hypothalamic tissue from the behaviorally inactive subgroup. Hypothalamic LHRH levels were not significantly altered by age in these animals. However, a marked reduction of LHRH content in the septal and midbrain regions of the aged-behaviorally inactive subgroup was evident when compared with the behaviorally active group. The data suggest that altered function of β-endorphin and LHRH neurons of the aged brain may be involved in the behavioral deterioration observed in aged animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-120
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Brain tissue
  • LHRH
  • Neuropeptides
  • Sex behavior
  • β-Endorphin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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