Effects of suppressing gonadal hormones on response to novel objects in adolescent rats

De-Laine Cyrenne, Gillian Ruth Brown

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Human adolescents exhibit higher levels of novelty-seeking behaviour than younger or older individuals, and novelty-seeking is higher in males than females from adolescence onwards. Gonadal hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol, have been suggested to underlie age and sex difference in response to novelty; however, empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis is limited. Here, we investigated whether suppressing gonadal hormone levels during adolescence affects response to novelty in laboratory rats. Previously, we have shown that male adolescent Lister-hooded rats (postnatal day, pnd, 40) exhibit a stronger preference than same-aged females for a novel object compared to a familiar object. In the current study, 24 male and 24 female Lister-hooded rats were administered with Antide (a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonist), or with a control vehicle solution, at pnd 28. Antide provided long-term suppression of gonadal hormone production, as confirmed by ELISA assays and measurement of internal organs. Response to novel objects was tested at pnd 40 in Antide-treated and control subjects using a ‘novel object recognition’ task with a short (2-minute) inter-trial interval. In support of previous findings, control males exhibited a stronger preference than control females for novelty when presented with a choice of objects. Antide-treated males exhibited a significantly lower preference for novel objects compared to control males, whilst Antide-treated females did not differ significantly from control females in their preference for novelty. Antide treatment did not affect total time spent interacting with objects. We discuss how gonadal hormones might influence sex differences in preference for novelty during adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-631
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date2 Sept 2011
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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