Hormonal Correlates of Sexual-Behavior and Ovulation in Male-Induced and Postpartum Estrus in Female Prairie Voles
The purpose of the present study was a description of hormonal profiles in female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) in estrus that was induced by male exposure versus postpartum estrus. Hormonal profiles are reported in sexually naive females and in sexually experienced females, as a function of varying amounts of coital stimulation and as a function of time since male exposure. Ovarian estradiol levels, uterine weights and uterine protein levels increased in virgin females after exposure to a male, were highest in females that showed lordosis, declined slowly when estrous females were isolated from males and decreased sharply following mating. Ovarian progesterone levels increased more rapidly following mating in females in male-induced estrus than in females in postpartum estrus. Serum progesterone levels did not increase significantly within 24 hr following mating, but were elevated by 72 hr after mating. These findings are discussed as they relate to the hormonal control of female sexual behavior.