The effects of chronic intra-peritoneal administration of 10. mg/kg (t.i.w., for 5 weeks) of sildenafil on competitive aggression, sexual behaviour and body weight gain was tested in CD1 subordinate male mice in two experimental contexts: 1) " low levels of aggression" , i.e. housing in dyads of siblings 2) " high levels of aggression" , i.e. exposure to a model of chronic psychosocial stress with an unfamiliar mice. Subordinate mice in both experimental contexts were injected with sildenafil or saline. After 2 weeks of sildenafil administration, a subgroup of subordinates exposed to " high levels of aggression" began to counterattack their dominant counterparts at higher rates than saline-injected subordinates. This effect was essentially similar but faster in subordinates subjected to " low levels of aggression" As far as sexual behaviour is concerned, in both experimental contexts, sildenafil-injected subordinated mice showed significant lower latencies to mount a proceptive female when compared to saline-injected subjects. Furthermore, in the " high levels of aggression" context, Sildenafil reduced stress-induced body weight gain. Sildenafil showed no effects in individually housed males serving as controls. In conclusion, chronic Sildenafil treatment counteracts the inhibitory effects of social subordination on male competitive aggression, sexual behaviour and body weight gain. Overall our data suggests that sildenafil could be acting in the central nervous system to modulate sexual and agonistic motivation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by grant from the University of Parma (FIL 2007 to SP). Authors wish to thank Cheryl Cero and Valentina Sanghez for their precious help in conducting the behavioural experiments.
- Body weight
- Competitive aggression
- Sexual behaviour
- Social subordination