The journal of physiological sciences : JPS

Prenatal testosterone supplementation alters puberty onset, aggressive behavior, and partner preference in adult male rats.

PMID 22234789


The objective of this study was to investigate whether prenatal exposure to testosterone (T) could change the body weight (BW), anogenital distance (AGD), anogenital distance index (AGDI), puberty onset, social behavior, fertility, sexual behavior, sexual preference, and T level of male rats in adulthood. To test this hypothesis, pregnant rats received either 1 mg/animal of T propionate diluted in 0.1 ml peanut oil or 0.1 ml peanut oil, as control, on the 17th, 18th and 19th gestational days. No alterations in BW, AGD, AGDI, fertility, and sexual behavior were observed (p > 0.05). Delayed onset of puberty (p < 0.0001), increased aggressive behavior (p > 0.05), altered pattern of sexual preference (p < 0.05), and reduced T plasma level (p < 0.05) were observed for adult male rats exposed prenatally to T. In conclusion, the results showed that prenatal exposure to T was able to alter important aspects of sexual and social behavior although these animals were efficient at producing descendants. In this sense more studies should be carried to evaluated the real impact of this hormonal alteration on critical period of sexual differentiation on humans, because pregnant women exposed to hyperandrogenemia and then potentially exposing their unborn children to elevated androgen levels in the uterus can undergo alteration of normal levels of T during the sexual differentiation period, and, as a consequence, affect the reproductive and behavior patterns of their children in adulthood.

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Testosterone propionate, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard