Bilateral lesions of the medial preoptic-anterior hypothalamic (MP-AH) area were made in prepubertal male cats at 6-8 weeks of age. All subjects were subsequently reared in groups containing male and female peers, until the last phase of the juvenile period when an adult estrous female was inserted in these social groups. In spite of such optimal conditions for the practice of sociosexual behaviors during development, no sparing of adult male copulatory behavior was observed in these MP-AH animals during testing in adulthood. This finding, while consistent with earlier work on dogs, contrasts with the results obtained in prepubertally lesioned rats. Urine spraying, another sexually dimorphic behavior which is eliminated by MP-AH lesions in adult cats, was spared by prepubertal lesion placement. Heterotypical sexual behavior was not enhanced by prepubertal MP-AH lesion placement, as it is with postpubertal placement. In the present study, therefore, different behavioral systems influenced by the MP-AH area showed varying degrees of plasticity. As found in dogs, prepubertal MP-AH lesions enhanced and accelerated testosterone secretion in cats.
- Brain plasticity
- Sexual behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience