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Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors and sexual behaviors in male mice

Journal article
Authors Jesper Vestlund
Elisabeth Jerlhag
Published in Psychoneuroendocrinology
Volume 117
ISSN 03064530
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Language en
Keywords Corticosterone, GLP-1R, Monoamines, NTS, Sexual behaviors
Subject categories Neurobiology


© 2020 The Author(s) The gut-brain peptide glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) reduces reward from palatable food and drugs of abuse. Recent rodent studies show that activation of GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1R) within the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) not only suppresses the motivation and intake of palatable food, but also reduces alcohol-related behaviors. As reward induced by addictive drugs and sexual behaviors involve similar neurocircuits, we hypothesized that activation of GLP-1R suppresses sexual behavior in sexually naïve male mice. We initially identified that systemic administration of the GLP-1R agonist, exendin-4 (Ex4), decreased the frequency and duration of mounting behaviors, but did not alter the preference for females or female bedding. Thereafter infusion of Ex4 into the NTS decreased various behaviors of the sexual interaction chain, namely social, mounting and self-grooming behaviors. In male mice tested in the sexual interaction test, NTS-Ex4 increased dopamine turnover and enhanced serotonin levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). In addition, these mice displayed higher corticosterone, but not testosterone, levels in plasma. Finally, GLP-1R antagonist, exendin-3 (9-39) amide (Ex9), infused into the NTS differentially altered the ability of systemic-Ex4 to suppress the various behaviors of the sexual interaction chain, indicating that GLP-1R within the NTS is one of many sub-regions contributing to the GLP-1 dependent sexual behavior link. In these mice NTS-Ex9 partly blocked the systemic-Ex4 enhancement of corticosterone levels. Collectively, these data highlight that activation of GLP-1R, specifically those in the NTS, reduces sexual interaction behaviors in sexually naïve male mice and further provide a link between NTS-GLP-1R activation and reward-related behaviors.

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