Adult male Long-Evans rats (n = 9 per group) received daily exposure for 4 weeks to fluoxetine (0.75 mg FLUOX/kg body weight) or trimipramine (1.6 mg TRIMI/kg body weight). Separate tests of copulation, sexual motivation, and intermale aggressive behaviors were used to evaluate functional changes during chronic exposure to either typical or atypical antidepressant drugs with more or less serotonin specificity. Circulating hormones, primary and secondary sex structures, and concentrations of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) from mesolimbic tissue were assessed at necropsy. Results of tests with estrous females and untreated males revealed progressive disruption to sexual performance and aggressive responsiveness over time of treatment with TRIMI and, to a lesser extent, with FLUOX. By contrast, motivation, testosterone, and all measures of reproductive physiology were indistinguishable from controls. Ratios of transmitter metabolites relative to the parent compounds indicated similar reductions of 5-HT turnover with FLUOX and TRIMI. However, influences on DA turnover were significantly less with FLUOX than with TRIMI. Conclusions are that long-term intervention with antidepressant drugs may disrupt sociosexual exchanges without compromising male rats' interest in sexual contact or integrity of their reproductive physiology. Lessened disruption of sociosexual behaviors with this regimen of chronic FLUOX treatment may be related to the greater selectivity on serotonin relative to dopamine turnover.
- Sexual motivation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience