Stimulation of sexual behavior in the male rat by galanin-like peptide

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Stimulation of sexual behavior in the male rat by galanin-like peptide

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Title: Stimulation of sexual behavior in the male rat by galanin-like peptide
Author: Steiner, Robert A.; Thomas-Smith, S. E.; Acohido, B. V.; Fraley, Gregory S.; Clifton, Donald K.
Abstract: Galanin-like peptide (GALP) is a recently described neuropeptide, which shares a partial sequence identity with galanin but is derived from a separate gene. Central injections of GALP stimulate the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) and induce the expression of Fos in several brain areas known to regulate male sexual behavior in the rat. We postulated that GALP may also stimulate sexual behavior in concert with its stimulatory effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. To test this hypothesis, we administered GALP, galanin, or the vehicle (artificial cerebrospinal fluid, aCSF) alone to sexually experienced male rats and assessed the effects of these agents on sexual behavior. We observed that compared to aCSF alone, GALP significantly increased all aspects of male-typical sexual behavior, whereas galanin inhibited all of these same behaviors. To examine whether the stimulatory effects of GALP on sexual behavior were mediated by GALP's stimulatory effects on the HPG axis, we castrated the same male rats and repeated the behavioral experiment. We found that GALP maintained its inductive action on male-typical sexual behaviors in the castrated animals, suggesting that the effects of GALP on sexual behavior are not the result of GALP's ability to stimulate testosterone secretion. These observations suggest that GALP neurons are part of the hypothalamic circuitry controlling sexual behavior in the male rat.

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