Vasopressin deficiency abolishes a sexually dimorphic behavior in Brattleboro rats

M. D. Brot, I. L. Bernstein, D. M. Dorsa

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18 Scopus citations


The role of vasopressin (VP) in a sexually dimorphic behavior, the extinction of a conditioned taste aversion, was investigated in male and female rats of three different genotypes. This behavior was examined with a two bottle test in the wild-type Long-Evans (LE) rats, and then in partially VP deficient heterozygous (HET-BB) and completely VP deficient homozygous (HO-BB) Brattleboro rats. In Experiment 1, non-deprived male and female LE rats were given aversions to a sucrose solution by pairing it with a LiCl injection. The rate of extinction of the aversion upon reexposure to ad lib sucrose solution was examined and observed to be sexually dimorphic. Female LE rats extinguished at a significantly more rapid rate than males. Experiment 2 compared HET-BB and HO-BB male and female rats using the same paradigm. Neither of these VP-deficient groups showed sexual dimorphism of the extinction behavior. The data suggest that intact VP levels are necessary to observe the expression of this sexually dimorphic behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-843
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Brattleboro rats
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Extinction
  • Sex differences
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Testosterone
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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