Duration of estrogen stimulation and progesterone inhibition of maternal behavior in pregnancy-terminated rats

Harold I. Siegel, Jay S. Rosenblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The duration of the effectiveness of estradiol benzoate (EB) on the latency to the onset of maternal behavior was measured in 16-day pregnant rats that were hysterectomized-ovariectomized (HO). Eight groups of HO animals were treated with either a single SC injection of 5 μg/kg of EB or oil at surgery and were initially presented with foster pups at either 24, 48, 72, or 96 hr postoperatively. Compared to their respective controls, EB-treated animals showed singificantly shorter latencies when testing began at 48 and 72 hr but not 24 or 96 hr. In the second experiment, 16-day HO rats were treated with 5 μg/kg of EB at surgery and either oil or 0.5 mg of progesterone at 0, 24, or 44 hr postoperatively. Additional groups received either progesterone or oil at surgery (instead of EB) and a second injection of oil 44 hr later. Testing began 48 hr following surgery for all groups, and the results showed that only the groups injected with EB alone or EB plus progesterone at 44 hr displayed short-latency maternal behavior. It was concluded that a significant reduction in the latency to the onset of maternal behavior can be obtained between 24 and 72 hr after EB treatment and that progesterone when injected concurrently or 24 hr later can inhibit the effectiveness of EB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1978


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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