RNA and protein synthesis inhibitors: Effects on sexual behavior in female rats

Robert L. Meisel, Donald W. Pfaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Biochemical evidence indicates that many steroid hormone effects on target tissues arc mediated via actions on the genome. Studies on the hormonal control of reproductive behavior have demonstrated several effects of RNA or protein synthesis inhibitors on female sexual behavior in rats. In female rats treated with estrogen and progesterone, intracranial application of actinomycin-D (an RNA synthesis inhibitor) can disrupt lordosis responding if the drug is given in conjunction with estrogen. but not with progesterone. Protein synthesis inhibitors (cycloheximide or anisomycin) applied intracranially at the time of estrogen also disrupt lordosis. with anisomycin antagonizing the progesterone-facilitation of lordosis. Possible neural sites of action of these drugs are considered, as are alternative modes of action of these synthesis inhibitors. Whereas the effects of estrogen on lordosis include the synthesis of some, as yet unidentified, proteins, the exact role for protein synthesis in the mediation of progesterone's actions on lordosis remains less certain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1984

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our researcha nd preparationo f this article were supportedb y NIH Grant HD-05751( to D.W.P.). and USPHS Postdoctoral Fellowship HD-06240( to R.L.M.). We would like to thank Adelaide Acquaviva for typing the manuscript.


  • Actinomycin-D
  • Anisomycin
  • Cycloheximide
  • Estrogen
  • Female sexual behavior
  • Progesterone
  • Protein synthesis inhibition
  • RNA synthesis inhibition


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