Date of Award

Spring 4-4-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Clancy

Second Advisor

Dr. Therese Poole

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Carruth

Abstract

Estrogen stimulation of the medial amygdala (MEA) of the brain promotes male rat mating behavior. However, selective stimulation of either of the estrogen receptor subtypes found in the MEA (ERα or ERβ) does not support mating behavior. We tested the hypothesis that dual stimulation of ERα and ERβ is required to activate estrogen-dependant neural circuits in the MEA responsible for mating by local treatment of MEA with a combination of selective estrogenic agonists: propyl pyrazole triol (PPT, an ERα agonist ) and diarylpropionitrile (DPN, an ERβ agonist) administered to castrated, DHT maintained male rats. Estradiol (E2) or cholesterol (Chol) MEA implants served as positive and negative controls respectively. The animals receiving a mixture of PPT and DPN into the MEA displayed higher levels of mating behavior than the Chol treated animals but lower levels of mating behavior than the E2 treated animals.

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