A uterotonic antagonist blocks the oxytocin-induced facilitation of female sexual receptivity

J. D. Caldwell, A. S. Barakat, D. D. Smith, V. J. Hruby, C. A. Pedersen

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The nonapeptide oxytocin (OXT) has been shown to facilitate female sexual receptivity when infused into the cerebral ventricles or the basal forebrain. Various selective antagonists have been used to block other behavioral effects of centrally administered OXT. In this study we compared the effects of equal doses of uterotonic, antidiuretic (V2) or vasopressor (V1) antagonists in blocking the facilitative effects of a simultaneous infusion of OXT into the basal forebrain. Ovariectomized (OVXed) animals were implanted with chronic cannulas in the basal forebrain. All animals were then given 0.5 μg estradiol benzoate daily for 3 days before testing. On the fourth day animals were tested to 8-10 mounts with a sexually vigorous male before and 20, 40 and 90 min after infusions of 500 ng OXT alone or in combination with a uterotonic, V2 or a V1 antagonist analogue. OXT significantly increased lordosis responding 20 and 40 min after its infusion into the medial preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus when compared to the receptivity of normal saline vehicle infused animals. The uterotonic antagonist significantly blocked the facilitation seen after OXT. The V1 and V2 antagonist at equal doses had no effect on the OXT-induced facilitation of lordosis postures. The V1 antagonist itself facilitated sexual receptivity 90 min after infusion. The facilitative effect of OXT on receptivity appears to be mediated by central uterotonic receptors, while central vasopressor receptors may serve an inhibitory role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-296
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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