Short duration testosterone infusions maintain male sex behavior in Syrian hamsters

Jin Ho Park, Matthew J. Paul, Matthew P. Butler, Philip Villa, Morgan Burke, Dennis P. Kim, David M. Routman, Elanor E. Schoomer, Irving Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In most mammalian species, reduced androgen availability is associated with marked reductions in male sexuality; conversely, androgen replacement in castrated males restores sex behavior within a few weeks. Testosterone (T) pulse duration, amplitude, frequency, and inter-pulse interval may be as important as total amount of hormone in determining target tissue responsiveness. We remain ignorant of the number and duration of daily T pulses necessary and sufficient to sustain male mating behavior. An in-dwelling infusion system was employed to vary T-pulse frequencies and durations. Daily 4 h infusions of aqueous T (100 μg/0.064 ml) and twice daily 4 h pulses of T (each 50 μg/0.064 ml) were sufficient to maintain ejaculatory behavior of sexually experienced castrated hamsters for 11 weeks post-castration; castrated hamsters infused with vehicle ceased to display the ejaculatory pattern 3 weeks after gonadectomy. Circulating T concentrations of hormone-infused hamsters declined markedly 7 h after the termination of each infusion. These results establish that male sex behavior can be sustained with infusions of relatively low T concentrations for 4 h/day and suggests that the basal concentrations of T sustained by the gonad during inter-pulse intervals may not be necessary for maintenance of sex behavior. 4 h T infusions were sufficient to maintain penile and seminal vesicles weights, but not ventral prostate weights or flank gland dimensions; the threshold for maintaining male sex behavior is lower than that for some androgen-dependent peripheral structures. Development of effective androgen replacement regimens that sustain sex behavior in castrated animals may be useful in the design of androgen replacement therapy for hypogonadal men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Male sexual behavior
  • Syrian hamster
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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