Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Clancy N. Andrew - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Delon W. Barfuss

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew S. Grober


ABSTRACT Evidence from knockout studies in male mice and from experiments in male rats,in which expression of the estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) gene was inhibited in the medial preoptic area (MPO), suggests that ERα is important in the control of male rat mating behavior. Therefore, in this experiment, we tested the hypothesis that activation of ERα in the MPO is sufficient to maintain mating behavior in castrated male rats receiving subcutaneously (s.c.) dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a non-aromatizable androgen. Accordingly, castrated rats treated with DHT s.c. received MPO implants of either: (i) propyl-pyrazole-triol (PPT) (Stauffer, et al 2000; Katzenellenbogen, et al 2000), a selective ERα agonist, (ii) E2 (positive controls) or (iii) cholesterol (negative controls)and sexual behavior was monitored. PPT was as effective as E2 at maintaining mating behavior suggesting that, in the MPO, ERα is sufficient to mediate responses to E2 that underlie male rat mating behavior.