Transfer of [3H]estradiol-17β and [3H]progesterone from conspecifics to cohabiting female mice Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Estradiol-17β (E2) and progesterone (P4) play critical roles in female reproductive physiology and behavior. Given the sensitivity of females to exogenous sources of these steroids, we examined the presence of E2 and P4 in conspecifics' excretions and the transfer of excreted steroids between conspecifics. We paired individual adult female mice with a stimulus male or female conspecific given daily injections of [3H]E2 or [3H]P4. Following 48 h of direct interaction with the stimulus animal, we measured radioactivity in the uterus, ovaries, muscle, olfactory bulbs, mesencephalon and diencephalon (MC+DC), and cerebral cortex of the untreated female cohabitant. Radioactivity was significantly present in all tissues of female subjects after individual exposure to a stimulus male or female given [3H]E2. In females exposed to males given [3H]P4, radioactivity was significantly present in the uterus, ovaries, and muscle, but not in other tissues. In females exposed to stimulus females given [3H]P4, radioactivity was significantly present in all tissues except the MC+DC. In mice directly administered [3H]steroids, greater radioactivity was found in the urine of females than of males. Among females directly administered [3H]steroids, greater radioactivity was found in urine of those given [3H]P4 than of those given [3H]E2. When females were administered unlabeled E2 before exposure to [3H]E2-treated females, less radioactivity was detected in most tissues than was detected in the tissues of untreated females exposed to [3H]E2-treated females. We suggest that steroid transfer among individuals has implications for the understanding of various forms of pheromonal activity.

publication date

  • April 2013

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