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Strain Differences in the Behavioral Responses of Female Guinea Pigs To Alpha-Estradiol Benzoate and Progesterone 1)

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image of Behaviour

Using females from the highly inbred strains 2 and 13 and from a genetically heterogeneous stock (strain T), five measures of sexual behavior were investigated tfor the consistency with which they are displayed by each strain when equal and different quantities of α-estradiol benzoate are followed by a constant amount of progesterone. The five measures were 1) latency of estrus, 2) duration of estrus, 3) duration of the maximum lordosis, 4) frequency of male-like mounting, and 5) per cent of animals brought into heat by the treatment. From strain to strain there are consistent differences in the five measures. Strain 2 females show the shortest latencies, the longest duration of estrus, the least male-like mounting behavior, and the highest responsiveness to the estrogen. Their maximum lordosis which is intermediate in length is exhibited during the third hour of heat. Strain T females are characterized by long latencies, relatively short heat periods, and are intermediate with respect to mounting behavior and their responsiveness to α-estradiol benzoate. Their mean maximum lordosis is shortest and is exhibited during the first hour of heat. Strain 13 females display a latency and duration of heat similar to those which characterize the strain T females, but more male-like mounting than the other animals. They are least responsive to the estrogen. The mean maximum lordosis which is longest in this strain appears during the second hour of heat. The sexual vigor of strains 2 and 13 is greater than that of the strain T females. This order is opposite that in males from the same strains. The relatively vigorous sexual behavior of the inbred females is postulated to be of value for the perpetuation of these strains. Latency varied inversely and duration of heat directly with increases in the amount of α-estradiol benzoate, although with respect to the length of time that vigorous lordoses were elicited, above-threshold quantities were without effect on the response. Duration of lordosis and the frequency of mounting were not effected by changes in the amount of hormone. In general, therefore, the principle established for the male, that supra-liminal quantities of gonadal hormone do not alter the characteristic pattern of the behavior, can be extended to the female. The distinction between responsiveness to the hormone and vigor of the reaction is discussed.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Anatomy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A.


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