The effects of septal or preoptic lesions on both masculine and feminine sexual behaviors were examined in castrated adult male rats. Three weeks after brain surgery, animals were implanted with Silastic tubes containing testosterone (T) and observations of masculine sexual behavior were carried out four times every 5 days. T tubes were removed immediately after the end of the masculine behavioral tests. Two weeks later, animals implanted with Silastic tubes containing estradiol-17β(E2) were subjected to three feminine sexual behavioral tests at 5-day intervals. The bilateral lateral septal lesion (LSL) and the medial preoptic lesion (MPOL) effectively suppressed the performance of mounts, intromissions, and ejaculations, whereas the medial septal lesion (MSL), the dorsolateral preoptic lesion (DPOL), and the sham operation did not show any significant suppression of these behaviors. In the feminine sexual behavioral tests, intact and sham-operated control males showed only a low lordotic activity. However, the performance of the lordosis reflex was markedly facilitated by LSL or DPOL, while the lordotic activity of MSL and MPOL males was not significantly different from that of control males. These results suggest that the lateral septum exerts not only a facilitatory influence on masculine sexual behavior but also an inhibitory influence on feminine sexual behavior in male rats. On the other hand, the medial preoptic area may play a critical role in regulating masculine sexual behavior in male rats.
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