Preoptic knife cuts and sexual behavior in male rats
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Knife cuts aimed at severing either the medial-lateral or dorsal fiber connections of the medial preoptic-anterior hypothalamus (MPOAH) produced two clearly distinguishable patterns of copulatory deficits in male rats. On the other hand, transverse cuts, which were designed to destroy longitudinal connections on either the anterior or posterior end of the MPOAH, did not affect sexual behavior. Males with sagittal cuts exhibited deficits primarily in the initiation of copulation. In contrast, those with dorsal cuts showed alterations primarily in the execution of copulatory behavior. Combined behavioral and anatomical evidence was interpreted as suggesting that the MOPAH has at least two regulatory functions related to sex behavior: (1) it is involved in the mediation of the initiation of copulation through its lateral connections with the medial forebrain bundle, and (2) it influences the achievement of ejaculation and the subsequent refractory period through its dorsal connections with the amygdala and the hippocampus.
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