Testosterone, social and sexual behavior of perinatally and lifelong calorie restricted offspring Academic Article uri icon


  • Calorie restriction (CR) during sensitive perinatal periods has consistently been demonstrated to alter the development of a variety of physiological systems, which consequently affect behavior. This study compared the social behavior and sexual behavior of the adult male offspring of mothers administered a 25% CR at one of four times in the perinatal period: a brief period preconception, during gestation, during lactation, or a lifelong restriction (beginning at conception and continuing throughout life). Levels of serum testosterone were also determined in these animals. Social interaction increased in the gestation and lifelong CR groups. The lifelong group also exhibited more dominant type behaviors. CR during preconception and lactation resulted in offspring that displayed an enhanced and more efficient copulatory pattern compared to all other conditions. This was demonstrated by a reduced frequency of intromissions, shorter latency to ejaculation, and a greater frequency of ejaculations by the preconception and lactation group compared to some, if not all of the other CR groups and controls. Serum testosterone was significantly higher in the preconception group compared to controls. These findings indicate that CR during specific periods of development can differentially alter the social behavioral phenotype and hormone levels in adulthood.

publication date

  • June 2008