Postparturitional testosterone surge in male offspring of rats stressed and/or fed ethanol during late pregnancy

O. Byron Ward, Ingeborg L. Ward, John H. Denning, Jeffrey A. French, Shelton E. Hendricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Male offspring of rats exposed to restraint stress and/or alcohol during late pregnancy show aberrant patterns of sexual behavior masculinization and defeminization that vary as a function of treatment. The impact of these treatments on the postparturitional testosterone (T) surge that contributes to sexual behavior differentiation was investigated. Plasma T was measured using radio-immunoassay in individual males sampled on day 21 of gestation within 10 min of cesarean delivery or 1, 2, or 4 h thereafter. Neonatal T in the group exposed only to stress did not differ from that in the control group. T was lower than control levels at birth in both alcohol groups. The magnitude of the T surge that occurred during the first hour of birth in the control group was diminished by 50% in both alcohol groups, whose T pattern was very similar. There was no common alteration in postparturitional T associated with the increased lordotic behavior potential that males in all three treatment groups typically share, nor were there idiosyncratic endocrine abnormalities linked to the very different male copulatory pattern each exhibits. Exposure to an abnormal T milieu during fetal as well as neonatal ontogeny may underlie the etiology of the different sexual behavior patterns exhibited by males exposed to stress and/or alcohol. Possible unique effects each treatment exerts on perinatal plasma T and it's aromatization to estradiol in hypothalamic targets are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Fetal alcohol
  • Male rats
  • Neonatal androgen
  • Postparturitional testosterone surge
  • Prenatal stress
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Postparturitional testosterone surge in male offspring of rats stressed and/or fed ethanol during late pregnancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this