Influence of castration and estrogen replacement on sexual behavior of female-oriented, male-oriented, and asexual rams.

Journal of animal science

PubMedID: 10907838

Pinckard KL, Stellflug J, Stormshak F. Influence of castration and estrogen replacement on sexual behavior of female-oriented, male-oriented, and asexual rams. J Anim Sci. 2000;78(7):1947-53.
An experiment was conducted to determine whether exogenous estradiol-17beta (E2) could restore sexual behavior in castrated rams. The protocol consisted of three sequential 6-wk periods during which rams were studied while 1) intact, 2) bilaterally castrated, or 3) implanted s.c. with two 7.6-cm silastic implants each containing 309+/-16 mg of E2. Rams (classified as female-oriented [FOR, n = 7], male-oriented [MOR, n = 7], or asexual [n = 7]) were subjected to 30-min sexual behavior tests every 2 wk during the ensuing 18 wk. Rams were observed for mounts and ejaculations using two ovariectomized, estrous ewes and two intact males secured in stanchions. Behavioral data were analyzed using the signed rank test, but asexual rams showed no sexual behavior and therefore were not evaluated statistically. Jugular blood was collected prior to castration and at the end of the 18-wk period, and testicular venous (n = 21) and arterial (n = 8) bloods were collected immediately prior to castration. Radioimmunoassay was used to quantify systemic levels of estrone (E1), E2, and testosterone (T) and testicular serum concentrations of oxytocin (OT). Mounting behavior of MOR and FOR declined after castration (P < .05 and P < .10, respectively). Castration reduced the number of ejaculations by FOR (P < .05), but not by MOR (P > .10). Mounting behavior of castrated MOR and FOR was not affected by E2 treatment relative to that observed if castrated only (P > .10). Treatment of asexual rams with E2 did not stimulate sexual behavior in these rams. There were no marked differences (P > .10) among ram groups with regard to serum concentrations of E1, E2, or T prior to castration (overall mean +/- SE, 12.8+/-.7, 7.6+/-.5, and 2,670+/-780 pg/mL, respectively) or any difference (P > .10) in systemic concentration of E1 or E2 among ram groups after rams were implanted with E2 (overall mean +/- SE, 9.7+/-.7 and 9.0 +/-.7 pg/mL, respectively). Serum concentrations of E2 after implantation of the steroid did not differ from those present while rams were intact (P > .10). Testicular venous and arterial serum concentrations of OT were low and did not differ within or between rams. These results suggest that restoration of E2 concentrations to physiological levels in castrated adult rams (regardless of sexual orientation) cannot stimulate or reestablish sexual behaviors to levels observed prior to castration.