Ejaculation induces long-lasting behavioural changes in male rats in the forced swimming test: evidence for an increased sensitivity to the antidepressant desipramine.Brain Res Bull. 2005 Apr 30; 65(4):323-9.BR
Copulation to exhaustion induces a sexual inhibitory state featured by a decreased motivation. Since diminished motivation is a key symptom of depression, we analysed if sexually exhausted animals showed increased levels of depressive-like behaviour in the forced swimming test (FST). Besides, sexual activity has been reported to have reinforcing properties. Thus, we analysed whether different levels of sexual activity modified the development of the behavioural despair in the FST. Finally, the effect of a sub-threshold dose of desipramine (DMI, 2.5mg/kg) was evaluated in animals with different sexual conditions. Male adult rats were divided into: (a) naive rats and (b) animals executing one intromission (1-INTR) or (c) one ejaculation (1-EJ) and (d) sexually satiated rats, classified as sexually responsive (R) and non-responsive (NR). No differences were found in immobility behaviour between sexually exhausted and naive rats. In the pre-test sessions of the FST males attaining ejaculation (1-EJ, R and NR) had lower levels of immobility or showed a tendency towards such a diminution, while animals with sexual activity not involving ejaculation did not. Data suggest a "protective" effect of ejaculation against the development of depressive-like behaviour. Finally, the sub-effective dose of DMI produced an antidepressant-like action in all animals that ejaculated. In conclusion, sexual experience involving ejaculation modifies the behavioural expression of rats in the FST and their sensitivity to antidepressant drugs like DMI. Both responses reflect brain plastic changes induced by ejaculation.