Stimulatory effects of 5β-dihydrotestosterone on the sexual behavior in the domestic chick

J. Balthazart, G. Malacarne, P. Deviche

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18 Scopus citations


During in vitro incubations, brain tissues of chicks transform testosterone mainly into 5β-reduced androgens including 5β-dihydrotestosterone (β-DHT). Although β-DHT is generally believed to have no androgenic effects, we showed recently that it stimulates sexual behavior in young chicks during hand thrust tests. This result was confirmed during three experiments presented here and the possible interactions of β-DHT with the endogenous sex steroids have been analyzed. There is no synergism between β-DHT and estradiol in the induction of sexual behavior in the chicks. β-DHT is still partly active in chicks injected with the antiandrogen, cyproterone acetate in doses sufficient to block all action of the endogenous testosterone. β-DHT is also active in castrated chicks. The effects of β-DHT on the sexual behavior thus do not seem to depend on an interaction with other sex steroids and the reasons why it is active in chicks during hand thrust tests and not in other test situations in other birds are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-258
Number of pages13
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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