Restraint stress reduced blood alcohol levels in pregnant rats given a liquid alcohol diet. The male offspring prenatally exposed to both stress and alcohol failed to ejaculate spontaneously, although they copulated normally following exogenous testosterone (T) administration. Males prenatally exposed only to alcohol or only to stress showed no behavioral deficits. Adult serum T and luteinizing hormone levels were normal in both of the fetal alcohol exposed male groups. It appears that the androgen threshold for ejaculatory behavior is elevated in males prenatally exposed to alcohol plus stress and cannot be realized with normal testosterone titers, but it can be attained with exogenous hormone administration. Presumably the alcohol and stress combination interfered with ontogenetic patterns of T needed to fully masculinize the fetal nervous system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience