OBJECTIVE: In this study we examined the possibility that demasculinization produced by the neonatal administration of tamoxifen is accompanied by a decline in plasma levels of testosterone during adulthood.
METHODS: Wistar male rats received either a treatment with 12.5 microg/kg of tamoxifen during the first eight days of age or a treatment with 100 microg/kg of tamoxifen for five days. Each treatment had their respective control group. During adulthood their masculine sexual behavior was analyzed. At 8 months of age, males were killed by decapitation, trunk blood was collected and peripheral glands were dissected and weighed. Testosterone levels were measured by HPLC. Histological analysis of peripheral glands was performed.
RESULTS: Both neonatal tamoxifen treatments significantly decreased male sexual behavior when compared to control values. In addition, both treatments also showed a significant decrease in testicular weight when compared to control groups, as well as a decrease in seminal vesicle weight. In the microscopic analysis, a significant decrease in the diameter of the seminiferous tubules was observed, especially in the animals treated with 100 microg/kg of tamoxifen. However, no differences were observed between tamoxifen treated and control animals concerning plasma levels of testosterone.
CONCLUSION: The present results indicate that behavioral manifestations and changes in peripheral reproductive organs that accompanied demasculinization are not due to a deficit in testosterone secretion.