Effect of acute stress on sexual behavior in female rats: Participation of the central angiotensinergic system

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Stress might influence the reproductive behavior in females, and central angiotensin II (Ang II) is a peptide that plays a role in stress response and in the modulation of sexual behavior. The medial amygdala (MeA), an important structure that regulates this behavior, is strongly involved in stress response. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of acute restraint stress on the night of proestrus on sexual receptivity in female rats and the participation of Ang II and MeA in this effect. Adult female Wistar rats with regular estrous cycles were utilized. The acute stress protocol utilized was the restraint stress for 15 min on the night of proestrus. The participation of Ang II was evaluated by injecting Ang II and Ang II receptor antagonists (losartan and PD12319) into the MeA. The lordosis quotient was recorded. The stress or the microinjection of Ang II into the MeA significantly reduced sexual behavior. The blockade of AT1 or AT2 receptors in the MeA prevented the effect of stress and the effect of Ang II microinjection into this nucleus on sexual receptivity. We concluded that acute restraint stress on the night of proestrus reduces sexual behavior in rats, and this effect is mediated by both AT1 and AT2 receptors in the MeA.

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