Testosterone increases analgesia, anxiolysis,
and cognitive performance of male rats

by
Frye CA, Seliga AM.
Department of Psychology,
State University of New York, 1400 Washington Avenue,
Albany, NY 12222, USA.
cafrye@cnsunix.albany.edu
Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2001 Dec;1(4):371-81.


ABSTRACT

Preliminary evidence suggests that testosterone (T) may have anxiety-reducing and cognitive-enhancing properties in animals and people. Performance in a number of affective and cognitive behavioral tasks was examined in intact, T-depleted, and T-depleted and T-replaced male rats. Rats that were gonadally intact (n = 33), gonadectomized (GDX; n = 30), or GDX with silastic capsules of T implanted (n = 28) were tested through a battery of affective tasks (horizontal crossing, open field, elevated plus-maze, emergence, holeboard, social interaction, tailflick, pawlick, and defensive burying) and in the inhibitory avoidance task for cognitive performance. An additional 6 rats per group had plasma androgen concentrations measured and were determined to be physiological for intact rats, supraphysiological for T-implanted rats, and near the nadir for GDX rats. Testosterone implants produced analgesia as shown by the increased tailflick latencies of the GDX rats with silastic capsules of T implanted, relative to intact or GDX rats. Testosterone also produced anxiolysis. Intact rats spent more time interacting with a conspecific and less time burying an electrified prod than did the GDX or T-implanted rats. Intact rats or GDX rats with T implants also spent more time on the open arms of the elevated plus-maze than did GDX rats. Testosterone also enhanced cognitive performance in the inhibitory avoidance task. Intact rats had longer crossover latencies in the inhibitory avoidance task relative to GDX rats; GDX rats with T implants had longer crossover latencies relative to GDX or intact rats. Together, these data demonstrate that endogenous T or administration of T produced analgesia and enhanced affect and cognitive performance of adult male rats.
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