Induction of male behaviour in ovariectomized ewes and ovariectomized-androgenized ewes chronically implanted with oestradiol-17β or testosterone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Normal mature ewes and ewes that had been androgenized with testosterone (T) between days 30-80 or 50-100 of fetal life were ovariectomized and given 100 mg implants of either oestradiol-17β (E) or T. The T implants caused a sustained elevation in plasma T levels but the E implants did not produce stable plasma levels of E. The implants were weighed on removal from the ewes and daily release rates for E and T were 14.4 ± 5.8 μg/kg/day and 24.2 ± 5.3 μg/kg/day respectively. The implants of E induced oestrous behaviour in both the non-androgenized and the androgenized ewes, some of these animals remaining in oestrus for up to 11 days. The ewes also began to mount each other after 1-9 days of treatments; the androgenized ewes also showed male-like aggressive behaviour whereas the non-androgenized ewes did not. The T implants induced oestrous behaviour in both androgenized and non-androgenized ewes. However, the non-androgenized ewes never mounted other ewes, nor did they show aggressive behaviour, whereas the androgenized ewes did. Prenatal androgenization clearly alters the ability of a ewe to respond to exogenous steroids by increasing its propensity to show masculine behaviour. Nevertheless, non-androgenized ewes may also show masculine behaviour during chronic steroid treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1979
Externally publishedYes

Cite this