Pelvic and Pudendal Nerves Influence the Display of Paced Mating Behavior in Response to Estrogen and Progesterone in the Female Rat

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Two experiments examined whether the pudendal and pelvic autonomic nerves are important for pacing behavior shown by the female rat during mating. Ovariectomized female rats received bilateral transection of the pudendal (Pux), pelvic (Pex), or pudendal and pelvic (Pu+Pex) nerves or were sham-operated (Shx). Lordotic behavior, precopulatory solicitations, postural adjustments, and pacing behavior were measured 14 days after nerve transection in Experiment 1 after sequential treatment with estradiol benzoate (EB) and progesterone (P) and in Experiment 2 on the day after 7 daily injections of EB. After combined EB and P treatment, disruption of pacing behavior occurred in Pex and Pu+Pex animals. After EB-only treatment, Pux animals as well as Pex and Pu+Pex animals showed decreased pacing behavior. Thus, afferent input via the pelvic nerve is important for the display of pacing behavior, and P may counteract the effects of autonomic nerve transection.

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