Effects of dopamine agonists on appetitive and consummatory male sexual behavior in Japanese quail

Claudia Castagna, Gregory F. Ball, Jacques Balthazart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The effects of pharmacological manipulations of dopaminergic transmission on appetitive and consummatory aspects of male sexual behavior were investigated in castrated male Japanese quail treated with exogenous testosterone. Appetitive male sexual behavior was assessed by measuring a learned social proximity response and consummatory behavior was assessed by measuring copulatory behavior per se. The nonselective dopamine receptor agonist, apomorphine, inhibited in a dose-dependent manner both components of male sexual behavior. Two indirect dopamine agonists were also tested. Nomifensine, a dopamine re-uptake inhibitor, decreased appetitive sexual behavior but increased the frequency of mount attempts, a measure of consummatory sexual behavior. Amfonelic acid, a compound that enhances dopaminergic tone by a complex mechanism, increased aspects of both appetitive and consummatory behaviors. These data suggest that, in quail, as in rodents, increases in dopaminergic tone facilitate both appetitive and consummatory aspects of male sexual behavior. Apomorphine may be inhibitory in quail because it acts primarily on D2-like receptors, unlike in rats, where it stimulates sexual behavior and acts primarily on D1-like receptors at low doses but interacts with D2-like receptors at higher doses. This is supported by the observation that stereotyped pecking, a behavior stimulated selectively in quail by D2 agonists, was increased by apomorphine but not by the two indirect agonists. The observed partial dissociation between the effects of these dopaminergic agonists on appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors suggests that these two components of male sexual behavior may be controlled by the action of dopamine through different neuronal systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-414
Number of pages12
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Amfonelic acid
  • Apomorphine
  • Coturnix japonica
  • Dopamine
  • General agonist
  • Japanese quail
  • Nomifensine
  • Re-uptake inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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