Brain catecholamine content during the estrous cycle and in steroid-primed rats

Kenneth J. Renner, Greg A. Gerhardt, David M. Quadagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA) levels were measured in several estrogen concentrating brain regions over the estrous cycle and in steroid-primed ovariectomized rats under experimental conditions used to study sexual receptivity. Norepinephrine content in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), lateral septum (LS) and medial preoptic area (POA) varied during the estrous cycle. The highest NE levels were found during metestrus in these brain regions. In the ovariectomized rat, NE levels were increased in the POA and LS 12 hours (hr) after the injection of 3 μg of estradiol benzoate (65% and 33%, respectively). Norepinephrine content in the POA and LS remained elevated 24 hr and 48 hr (0.5 mg progesterone at 42 hr) after treatment but were not different from control levels at 96 hr. Dopamine concentrations were not significantly altered over the estrous cycle or by the administration of estradiol benzoate in any of the brain regions studied. These results suggest that estrogen may selectively alter noradrenergic activity in brain regions that are implicated in the control of sexual receptivity and/or ovulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1984

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NlCHHD grant HDI 1103 and G.A.G. received financial support from NSF Grant BNS 7914226. We wish to thank Dr. Ralph Adams and the members of his laboratory, Charles Bradberry, Rick Hart, Ramilla Lewis, Kirk Mills, Dr. Arvin Oke and Margaret Rice for supplying the technical expertise, advice and equipment for the measurement of the catecholamines. We also wish to thank Dr. Victoria Luine for her helpful advice and discussions during the writing of this paper, Dr. Joseph Bast for help and advice, Ms. Fran Williams and Coletta Spencer for excellent word processing assistance, and Sharon Hagen for her fine graphics.


  • Amygdala
  • Estrous cycle
  • Hypothalamus
  • Lateral septum
  • Lordosis behavior
  • Norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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